Nick Camacho

The Cal Poly men’s basketball team doesn’t begin Big West Conference play until January, but its home opener should have a vintage feel of that kind of rivalry when Utah State visits Mott Gym at 7:30 p.m. tonight.

In their last venture to Cal Poly, the Aggies (2-1) beat the Mustangs 81-57 in the teams’ final conference meeting Feb. 3, 2005.

The Mustangs (1-2) defeated Northern Illinois 88-78 Sunday, led by junior guard Trae Clark’s 22 points and seven assists, as well as senior forward Matt Hanson’s 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Senior forward Dreshawn Vance added 14 points, six rebounds and a team-high two blocks in just 19 minutes in the victory.

Utah State, meanwhile, is led by senior guard Jaycee Carroll, who comes into tonight’s contest averaging 22.7 points per game. Carroll, a 52-percent 3-point shooter, also leads the Aggies in rebounding by pulling down 7.3 boards per contest.

The Aggies – whose main inside presence is 6-foot-9, 240-pound junior forward Gary Wilkinson – are coming off a 77-58 victory over Montana-Western on Monday.

Wilkinson is averaging 14.3 points, 5.3 rebounds and two blocks per game this year.

Utah State enters tonight’s game shooting more than five-percent better from the field than the Mustangs, nearly 10-percent better from 3-point range and more than 13-percent better from the free-throw line.

Cal Poly’s first win came on the heels of the first two days of the BTI Tipoff Tournament in Cedar Falls, Iowa, where it fell to Massachusetts 90-64 Friday before being edged by Northern Iowa 62-55 Saturday.

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