Utah State isn't used to losing to its rivals.
That's one reason why it stung so much to fall to Weber State on Tuesday, collapsing under a barrage of Scott Bamforth 3-pointers in the process.
Saturday night's matchup with Southern Utah is the first time the Aggies take the court after the double-digit defeat. And while the Thunderbirds aren't as good as the Damian Lillard-led Wildcats, they are a formidable opponent for a young and inexperienced USU bunch that Stew Morrill hopes will mature in a hurry.
"Right now, we're just trying to see if we can get a little better," Morrill said. "That's what we're trying to do. We weren't very good the other night, and we've got to improve to become a good team. I like the group of kids that we have, and I think they're going to get better."
Through the first week of the season, the Aggies have relied a bit too much on Brockeith Pane's scoring. They haven't taken care of the ball, they haven't shot well from the perimeter, and they have gotten precious few assists.
Utah State, however, has proven to be more athletic, and Preston Medlin is emerging as a reliable scorer at the shooting guard spot. Southern Utah has several local players, including former Moutain Crest star Cal Hanks, and former Davis High star Jackson Stevenett.
"They're off to a pretty good start," Morrill said. "They look to push the ball and they're scoring, so we know this could be a pretty good game."
Southern Utah at Utah State
P At the Spectrum, Logan
Tipoff • 7 p.m.
TV • KCSG
Radio • 610 AM, 97.5 FM
Records • Utah State 1-1, Southern Utah 3-1
Series record • Utah State leads 5-0
Last meeting • Utah State, 66-53 (Nov. 20, 2010)
About the Thunderbirds • As a team, SUU is averaging 67.8 points per game. â¦ Southern Utah is 3-1 to start the season. â¦ SUU is allowing 70.8 points per game. â¦ Roger Reid is 43-81 in five years at SUU. â¦ Ramell Taylor is averaging 12.5 points per game
About the Aggies • Preston Medlin's career-high 17 points came against SUU in 2009. â¦ This will be USU's third consecutive in-state opponent. .. Utah State is 19-3 all-time against teams from the Summit League. â¦ Utah State has made at least one 3-pointer in 165 straight games. â¦ USU assistant Tarvish Felton played at Southern Utah from 1996-1999