Aggie men’s basketball aims for first road win against Saint Louis – Cache Valley Daily

With a trophy from the Cayman Islands Classic now safely sitting in head coach Danny Sprinkle’s office, the Utah State men’s basketball team will look to add another achievement to this young season: a true road win. While the three wins over Marshall, Akron and Stephen F. Austin were away from the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, all three opponents faced the same adversity in terms of venue. USU’s trip to Saint Louis will give the Aggies a chance to win a game on their opponent’s home court for the first time this season.

How to watch

  • Tip-off: 6 p.m. MT on Tuesday, Nov. 28

  • Location: Chaifetz Arena (St. Louis, MO)

  • KVNU Aggie GameDay with Al Lewis: 5 p.m. 

  • KVNU Aggie Call with Al Lewis: Immediately after Coach Sprinkle’s post-game comments

  • TV Broadcast: ESPN+

  • Radio Broadcast: KVNU (102.1 FM, 610 AM) in Logan; KVNU (98.3) in Tremonton; KVNU (93.5) in Garden City; KZNS (97.5 FM, 1280 AM) in Salt Lake City; KRPX (102.7 FM) in Green River, Utah; KRPX (100.3 FM) in Moab; KRPX (95.9 FM) in Orangeville; KRPX (95.3 FM) in Price; KVSI (1450 AM/104.5 FM) in Montpelier, Idaho.


Utah State

  • Max Agbonkpolo – Day-to-Day (Foot)

Saint Louis

  • Sincere Parker – OUT (Foot)

Projected Starters

Utah State (5-1)

  • G – Darius Brown (6-2, Sr.) – 11.7 points | 3.3 rebounds | 7.8 assists

  • G – Mason Falslev (6-3, Fr.) – 11.2 points | 4.8 rebounds | 3.8 assists

  • G – Josh Uduje (6-5, Jr.) – 9.8 points | 3.0 rebounds | 1.0 assists

  • F – Great Osobor (6-8, Jr.) – 20.5 points | 10.0 rebounds | 3.0 assists

  • C – Isaac Johnson (7-0, So.) – 6.2 points | 3.0 rebounds | 0.5 assists

Saint Louis (5-2)

  • G – Michael Meadows (6-2, Sr.) – 5.7 points | 3.0 rebounds | 3.4 assists

  • G – Larry Hughes (6-4, So.) – 5.9 points | 3.0 rebounds | 0.9 assists

  • G – Gibson Jimerson (6-5, Jr.) – 13.9 points | 3.7 rebounds | 2.0 assists

  • F – Terrence Hargrove (6-5, Sr.) – 15.7 points | 6.1 rebounds | 1.1 assists

  • F – Tim Dalger (6-7, Sr.) – 10.9 points | 5.6 rebounds | 0.4 assists

Team Statistical Ranks

Pace and offense/defense efficiency ratings via Ken Pomeroy. All ranks are out of 363 Division I teams.

Utah State

  • Pace – 68.9 (184th)

  • Offensive Efficiency – 107.9 (102nd)

  • Defensive Efficiency – 96.4 (39th)

  • Field Goal % – 52.0 (9th)

  • 3-point % – 32.7 (195th)

  • Offensive Rebounding % – 31.0 (171st)

  • Total Rebounding % – 56.1 (40th)

  • KenPom Rank – 63rd

Saint Louis

  • Pace – 72.4 (43rd)

  • Offensive Efficiency – 104.3 (179th)

  • Defensive Efficiency – 105.3 (183rd)

  • Field Goal % – 42.9 (240th)

  • 3-point % – 38.0 (50th)

  • Offensive Rebounding % – 19.5 (353rd)

  • Total Rebounding % – 46.0 (332nd)

  • KenPom Rank – 167th


Saint Louis and Utah State appear to be on different trends in the early goings of the season. While the Aggies have rattled off four straight wins, the Billikens have lost two of their last three games, perhaps due to the indefinite absence of junior guard Sincere Parker or even perhaps due to a tougher schedule these last few games.

Through four games, Saint Louis went 4-0. Parker averaged 17.3 points and 5.5 rebounds (in latter three games he’d scored at least 19 points every game), seeming poised to fill the role of several graduated guards from Saint Louis’ 2022-23 campaign that saw the team goin 21-12. But during the Billikens’ win over Wyoming, in which Parker scored a career-high 22 points, the guard broke his foot and will miss a good chunk of the season.

During Parker’s absence, the Billikens have gone 1-2, with the lone win being a one-point home victory over Dartmouth, a team currently ranked 304th in the Ken Pomeroy rankings.

Despite the recent failings of his opponent, Sprinkle is excited for what he says is a tough foe in a tough venue. He cited the excellent attendance history of Saint Louis and its reputation as one of the hardest places to play in the country (KenPom’s home court advantage ranking places Saint Louis 14th, just four spots behind Utah State).

“Obviously it’s one of the best places to play in the country. I’m excited to go. I’ve never played there,” Sprinkle said. “I know they used to lead the nation in attendance a while back, and I imagine they’ll have a great crowd.”

The last time the Aggies went into a hostile environment, it resulted in an overtime loss at Bradley. Utah State did well to get the game to overtime, but faltered in the five-minute overtime period where the team didn’t make a field goal and missed several free throws.

“We told our guys that we still got to go prove ourselves on the road. We’re 0-1 right now in true road games,” Sprinkle said. “It takes toughness. And I think hopefully we’ll learn from Bradley that last five minutes where, offensively, we were pretty sloppy, and we [had] a couple of turnovers. And you can’t miss free throws on the road.”

Looking at Saint Louis itself, even without Parker, there are plenty of veteran players on the team, plenty of whom were on last year’s 20-win team. Fifth-year senior and two-time All-A-10 guard Gibson Jimerson has led Saint Louis in scoring two straight seasons from 2021-2023 and is currently sitting at 13.9 points per game. His current shooting percentages — 36.1 from the field overall and 35.9 from three — are down from his previous two seasons (45.0 overall and 41.1 from three) but that’s not something that should be expected to continue.

The Billikens are also benefitting from a jump in production from Terrence Hargrove, another fifth-year senior whose gone from a part-time starter and mid-level rotation player to the new leader in total points scored so far this season. Hargrove began the year with a career-high tying 27 points, and in the three-game absence of Parker has averaged 17.7 points on 51.2 percent shooting from the field.

For Utah State, though the team is 5-1, Sprinkle is trying to prepare his team for bigger and better things than a trophy from a little-known mid-season showcase. There are still improvements Sprinkle wants to see from this team. The Aggies are a few bounces away from being 6-0, something Sprinkle admitted has surprised him, but he also pointed out the team could just as easily be 3-3 with a few more poor bounces.

“You have to keep that in perspective. Obviously, yeah, you do want to win every game, and I’m proud of our guys for finishing some of those games off,” Sprinkle said. “But then there’s also some things where I know what’s ahead. I know what’s ahead with Saint Louis with (UC) Irvine and then going into Mountain West play (there are things) we need to clean up if we want to continue to be successful.”

A few of those improvements are boxing out on rebounds, fewer turnovers and and more effective passes to shooters.

The boxing out side of those improvements may not see the greatest test against Saint Louis as the Billikens rank in the bottom 35 of rebounding percentage and in the bottom 10 in offensive rebounding percentage. Their average height also ranks in the 300s among Division I teams. But Sprinkle will still be watching closely as he said they track not just rebounding numbers, but the rate at which his team boxes out. According to his staff’s tracking, the Aggies have boxed out on roughly 60 percent of rebounds, a number Sprinkle wants to see rise to above 80 percent.

On offense one would think there wouldn’t be a ton to complain about. The Aggies rank 74th in points per game and are in the top 140 of D1 in most analytical offensive ratings (nearly top-100 in KenPom’s version). But there are still some things to clean up. Sprinkle pointed out specific types of turnovers and poor passes as things he’d like to see cut down on.

“A lot of the turnovers we had in the Cayman Islands were travels or, like, sloppy footwork, sloppy passes,” Sprinkle said. “Those are things we got to clean up, and I think our shooting percentage will improve once our passing improves.”

Utah State’s shooting is something that overall has been elite, ranking 10th in field goal percentage, but from 3-point range the Aggies have struggled. In the Cayman Islands, USU shot a combined 28.2 percent from three in the three games, which has dragged its season-long percentage to 32.7 percent, which ranks 195th in D1. To date, Utah State has shot above 30 percent on threes in just two out of six games.

“We’re passing guys out of position a lot. And we showed that to our guys. If we’re a better passing team, we’re throwing it on time and on target where our guys don’t have to jump two feet and then catch and shoot, your percentages go way up. And so it’s something we’ve been working on, but it’s going to be a work in progress.”

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