With Falcons On Deck, Utah State Looks To End Two-Game Losing Streak

Feb 14, 2023, 3:21 PM | Updated: 6:38 pm
USU forward Taylor Funk celebrates after making a three against San Diego State. (Garret Graf, USU Athletics)
(Garret Graf, USU Athletics)

LOGAN, Utah –ย Returning home for two games is probably a best-case scenario for Utah State men’s basketball after last week’s results.

Utah State (19-7, 8-5) opens its two-game homestand by hosting the Air Force Falcons (13-13, 4-9)ย in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Tuesday, February 14. Tip-off for this game is scheduled for 7 p.m. (MT)

The Aggies got off to a slow start at home against San Diego State and lacked the juice to complete a second-half comeback, falling 63-61. It was just their second loss in front of the home crowd this season.

Over the weekend, Odom and his Aggies were again unable to rebound from a slow start. San Jose State jumped out to an early lead and a flat USU team couldn’t maintain a second-half fun. Utah State couldn’t get enough defensive stops down the stretch, resulting in a 69-64 loss.

Eighth in the Mountain West, Air Force went 1-1 last week in a pair of home games. The Falcons opened the week with a disappointing 69-53 loss to in-state rival Colorado State. Three days later, the Falcons knocked off New Mexico 89-77.

RELATED: Utah State Suffers Resume Deflating Loss Against San Jose State

Utah State Looks To Sweep Season-Series

A lot can change in six weeks across the college basketball landscape. The last time USU faced Air Force, the Aggies were 13-2 and looked like a team that could cause some headaches in the NCAA Tournament.

RELATED: Terrific First Half Carries Utah State To Win Over Air Force

USU sprinted out to a 21-point first half lead, seemingly putting to rest any concern about how they would perform in difficult road environments.

By the end of a 77-65 win, four Utah State players finished in double-figures with Taylor Funkโ€™s 16 leading the way. Steven Ashworth scored 15 and added a team-high eight rebounds. Max Shulga and Sean Bairstow each chipped in 11.

Fast forward six weeks and the landscape has changed for USU.

Starting point guard Rylan Jones hasn’t played since being injured against Boise State just three days later. Utah State has gone 5-5 in Mountain West play and fallen to fourth in the conference.

With only five games left in the regular season, Utah State can’t afford any more losses.

Air Force Falcons (13-13, 4-9)

The Falcons come to Logan averaging 67.3 points per game while allowing 66.3. They are the second lowest scoring team in the Mountain West, ahead of only Fresno State. It will be a tall task for the Falcons as Utah State averages 79 points per game, number two in the conference behind New Mexico.

RELATED: Utah Stateโ€™s Max Shulga Responds To Colorado Stateโ€™s Chant, Apology

A young team, Air Force is led by sophomore Jake Heidbreder and true freshman Rytis Petraitis. In 26 starts, Heidbreder is the only Falcon averaging double-digit scoring at 14.4 points per contest. Petraitis averages 9.8 points per game. The freshman also leads Air Force with 25 steals and 20 blocked shots this season.

Heidbreder finished with 19 points in the earlier loss against Utah State.

Up Next

USU hosts theย Nevada Wolfpackย (20-6, 10-3) at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Saturday, February 18. Tip-off for this game is scheduled for 6 p.m. (MT).

Every Utah State basketball game can be heard on theย KSL Sports Zoneย with Scott Garrard on the call.

Coverage of Utah State University Athletics from KSL Sports can be found here.ย 

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With Falcons On Deck, Utah State Looks To End Two-Game Losing Streak