Gameday Guide: Utah State at Weber State

Utah State Men's Basketball takes on The University of Providence (formerly Great Falls) at home in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Friday, November 3. This is the Aggies first and only exhibition game of the 2017-18 season. (Matt Halton)

College basketball is back!

Utah State will get its first game Friday night at 7 p.m., on the road against Weber State.

<h3>Series history</h3>

Utah State fans would like to see their team get some revenge on Weber State after the Wildcats left Logan with a 77-71 win a last season. It was the first time in five games that USU had lost to Weber State, and just the third time in 17 games.

“They made some big shots and I thought we made some big mistakes,” USU head coach Tim Duryea said following the defeat. “I really thought it came down to that.”

Most games in recent years have been close. After 11 lead changes, the Aggies got the 73-70 victory in 2015, had to come back from an 18-point deficit in 2014 to get the 72-61 win and won a six-point grind-it-out game in Ogden in 2013.

USU leads the series 42-27.

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<h3>How to watch and listen</h3>

The game will not be broadcast on television, but for those who don’t want to make the trip to Ogden it will be streamed at this <a href=”http://www.bigskyconf.com/sports/2015/11/19/WatchBigSky.aspx” target=”_blank”>link</a>.

The KVNU Gameday pregame show will start at 6 p.m. on 610 AM and 102.1 FM with Al Lewis and former Aggie basketball player Grayson Moore. Aggie Call with Al Lewis and John Russell will begin as soon as the game ends.

<h3>The Wildcats</h3>

Weber State lost some key players from last season’s 20-win team.

Jeremy Senglin, the program’s all-time leading scorer, is now in the NBA’s G-League. Last season’s top rebounder and No. 2 scorer Kyndahl Hill is gone as well.

Despite the turnover, many are expecting Weber State to still have a good year. The Wildcats were picked to finish second in the Big Sky behind Idaho.

Weber State has played an exhibition game, winning 84-77 over Western State. Sophomore guard Jerrick Harding led with 26 points while former Utah Ute forward Brekkott Chapman added another 20 points.

<h3>A focus on threes</h3>

Expect Utah State to put up a lot of shots from beyond the arc.

The Aggies had 38 3-point attempts in its exhibition win. Duryea said the team won’t normally be putting up that many threes, but hopes for at least 25 to 30 per game. He said his team’s lack of size means that is how USU will have to play.

Luckily for Aggie fans, last year’s 46.1 percent field goal percentage was better than any other team in the Mountain West. USU is used to taking a lot of perimeter shots, too. The team attempted a school-record 695 3-pointers during the 2015-16 season and another 618 last season

“We can shoot the ball,” Duryea said. “That is a strength of our team and that will have to be the strength of our team for the entire year.”

<h3>Injured Aggies</h3>

It was known weeks ago that junior center Norbert Janicek would be out after undergoing season-ending surgery, but there are a couple more that are less than 100 percent.

According to Duryea, senior guard Julion Pearre won’t be playing Friday night and will likely miss four-to-six weeks after suffering a non-contact injury during practice. Duryea said the good news is that it wasn’t an Achilles injury, as originally feared.

Klay Stall is well enough to play but has had issues with his back.

“He battles his back constantly,” Duryea said. “So it’s just constant treatment. They’ve got him in a brace, but hopefully it won’t be an all-year thing.”

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