GAME NOTES: Out on the road for the second time in as many games, the Fresno State Bulldogs are set to square off against the Utah State Aggies in Mountain West Conference action at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum tonight.
Heading into this week the Bulldogs had been enjoying an unprecedented five- game win streak, but that all came to an end on Tuesday when the program was taken out by Wyoming at Arena Auditorium, 72-66. With the loss, FSU dipped to 6-8 in conference play, which means the team enters the weekend seventh in the MWC standings.
Just behind the Bulldogs in the MWC is Utah State with five wins in 14 chances. The Aggies, who took San Diego State to overtime in their first meeting of 2013-14 back in late January, were barely a factor versus the sixth-ranked Aztecs earlier this week in a 60-45 final on the road. The loss was the second in the last three outings for USU.
The Aggies lead the all-time series with Fresno State by a count of 31-20, posting 21 wins in 26 dates played at home since the series began back in 1963.
Shooting just 38.2 percent from the field, including 3-of-11 behind the 3- point line at the Cowboys, Fresno State assisted on a mere two field goals as the squad fell by six on the road. Tyler Johnson tried to give the Bulldogs a fighting chance with 24 points and seven rebounds before fouling out, followed by Marvelle Harris and Cezar Guerrero with 18 and 13 points, respectively, for the visitors.
In conference play the Bulldogs are almost neck-and-neck with the competition, separated by a total of just five points over the course of 14 games, so every little bit counts these days. Johnson is atop the scoring list with his 18.6 ppg, not only shooting an even 50 percent behind the 3-point line on 62 attempts, he is also first on the glass with 7.8 rpg, making him a difficult matchup for some defenders.
Except for a brief advantage early in the first half at Viejas Arena, the Aggies were behind the entire way versus San Diego State, trailing by as many as 25 points late in the second half as they flirted with being held to their lowest scoring total of the season. Spencer Butterfield and Jarred Shaw both tallied 10 points, while Preston Medlin was nonexistent with a mere five points on 1-of-7 shooting from the field.
Producing a mere 65.2 ppg in conference this season, while holding the competition to 68.4 ppg, the Aggies have been making it quite hard on themselves. Shaw leads the offensive charge with 13.5 ppg and is also first on the glass with 8.4 rpg, but still it is hard to get beyond the fact that he has but nine assists through 360 minutes of playing time. Butterfield and Medlin chime in with 12.7 and 12.1 ppg, respectively, versus the rest of the MWC members.
You have to think that the Aggies will step up their efforts on their home floor tonight and try to get the offense back on track, but still Utah State is promised nothing as far as a win might be concerned.
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