GAME NOTES: With far too many key injuries shaking up Utah State this season, the Aggies try to finish the regular season strong on Saturday night as they host the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners in a Western Athletic Conference battle at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
For all the adversity the Aggies have had to deal with in 2012-13, one would understand if the squad completely folded up and failed to make a significant impact. However, head coach Stew Morrill kept his team focused and now the Aggies have a mark of 10-7 in league play thanks to a 77-61 victory over Texas State two nights ago.
As for UTSA, it was supposed to be squaring off against San Jose State on Thursday night, but rainwater came through the roof at The Event Center and began pooling on the court, making it too dangerous to play. Officials decided to cancel the contest instead of endangering the welfare of the players.
Now a mere 3-13 in conference play and ahead of only Seattle in the standings, the Spartans have the same league mark as UTSA. The Roadrunners recently enjoyed a three-game win streak, one of those victories coming in non- conference play against Nicholls State, but the brief run was snapped by Seattle last Saturday in a 53-37 final at home.
Heading into the weekend, the postseason scenarios have UTSA finishing anywhere between eighth and 10th in the standings depending on the outcome of this game and the matchup between Idaho and Seattle. The Aggies don't have to concern themselves with any variables because they are locked into the fifth spot.
The very first meeting between these two programs took place earlier this season in Texas, as the Aggies claimed a 71-67 victory in the conference opener for both squads.
In one of the weakest offensive efforts in recent memory, the Roadrunners shot a mere 22.6 percent from the floor overall versus Seattle and were limited to a grand total of only 11 points in the first half. Kannon Burrage and Jeromie Hill scored 15 points apiece for the hosts at the Convocation Center, but that means the rest of the roster combined for a mere seven points. Fellow starters Jordan Sims, Michael Hale III and Larry Wilkins converted a collectively miserable 1-of-20 from the floor.
In conference play, the Roadrunners are scoring a modest 64.1 ppg, but also giving up 71.6 ppg as opponents make good on 48.8 percent of their field goal chances, compared to only 38.6 percent for UTSA. Burrage (17.1 ppg, 4.6 rpg) might be the leading scorer for the group, but it is still tough to look beyond the fact that he is shooting just 37.8 percent from the floor. Hale (15.3 ppg) is even worse from the field at a mere 35.3 percent.
Utah State scored the first points of the night against the Bobcats a couple nights back, eventually leading by as many as 26 points in the second half before claiming the comfortable win. Spencer Butterfield came close to recording a rare triple-double as he registered a whopping 20 rebounds, 10 points and seven assists for the hosts. Jarred Shaw logged a double-double of his own with 15 points and 10 boards, followed by Ben Clifford and Marcel Davis with 13 and 12 points, respectively.
In conference play the Aggies are scoring just 66.1 ppg, but that's still better than the 62.9 ppg the team is allowing through 17 league bouts. Shaw heads both the scoring and rebounding lists with 14.5 points and 8.0 rebounds per outing, and thanks to his huge effort on Thursday night Butterfield now checks in with 13.3 ppg and 7.9 rpg, helping to provide USU with a rebounding advantage of 8.1 rpg.
Getting some additional time off wasn't something the Roadrunners were prepared for and chances are it was not welcomed as it took the squad out of a rhythm, and now it will probably work against UTSA in Logan this weekend.
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