Utah State Meets Boise State In Mountain West Semifinal Rubber Match

Mar 10, 2023, 9:37 AM | Updated: 11:55 am

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – The stage is set for the Boise State Broncos and Utah State Aggies to settle the season series with a neutral-court rubber match in the semifinals of the 2023 Mountain West Championships.

#3 Utah State (25-7, 14-5) advanced to face #2 Boise State (24-8, 14-5) on Friday, March 10. Tip-off for this MW semifinal matchup is scheduled for 10 p.m. (MT).

It was bound to end up like this wasn’t it? Utah State and Boise State, two of the top programs in the Mountain West, will square up for a third time, with bragging rights and a berth in the MW title game on the line.

RELATED: Taylor Funk’s Season-High Leads Utah State To Resume-Building Win

Taylor Funk scored 19 points in eight minutes, on his way to a season-high 32 as the Aggies never trailed in a 91-76 quarterfinal win over New Mexico.

The Broncos almost lost their invitation to the rematch after blowing a 22-point MW quarterfinal lead against UNLV on Thursday night. Boise State survived a regulation buzzer-beater, pulling away in overtime to win 87-76.

Aggies & Broncos Split Regular-Season Series

Game One

In Boise back in early January, Utah State suffered their largest margin of defeat of the season in an 82-59 blowout.

Leading 18-15 with 11:44 left in the first half, the Broncos used a 10-0 run to blow the game open. They held a 15-point halftime lead after shooting 54.8 percent (17-of-31 FG) and making 9-of-13 threes in the half.

It didn’t get better for the Aggies after the break as the Broncos rolled to a lopsided victory.

Adding injury to insult, USU point guard Rylan Jones has not played since leaving that January 7 game in the second half with an injury.

RELATED: Mountain West Regular Season Honors Announced, Steven Ashworth Named To First-Team

Funk and Sean Bairstow were the only Aggies to reach double-figures with Funk’s 14 leading the way. Tyson Degenhart led Boise State with 19 points and ten rebounds in the win.

Game Two

The Aggies took their revenge in the final game of the regular season, picking up their fifth-straight victory with an 86-73 win. It was their first, and only, quad one win this season.

In a first half eerily similar to the game in Boise, only with the roles reversed. Utah State built a 20-point first half lead thanks to 62 percent (18-of-29) shooting and a stellar defensive performance that held the Broncos to 37 percent (10-of-27) in the opening 20 minutes.

Boise State cut the lead to just six with 2:15 left but USU held on for the resume-defining win.

RELATED: Utah State’s Steven Ashworth ‘100% Focused’ On Mountain West Tournament

Five Aggies scored in double figures, led by Funk’s at the time season-high 24 points. MW first-teamer Steven Ashworth added 19 points, eight assists, and four rebounds. Dan Akin (14), Sean Bairstow (12), and Max Shulga (11) rounded out the leading scorers for Utah State.

Chibuzo Agbo led four Broncos in double-digits with 18 points. Tyson Degenhart added 14 with Marcus Shaver Jr and Max Rice scoring 13 apiece.

Up Next

#3 Utah State takes on the Broncos on Friday, March 10. Tip-off for this MW semifinal matchup is scheduled for 10 p.m. (MT).

#1 San Diego State takes on #5 San Jose State in the other semifinal matchup. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. (MT).

Both semifinal games will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.

The 2023 Mountain West Championships take place at the Thomas & Mack Center. The title game is scheduled to tip off at 2 p.m. (MT) on Saturday, March 11.

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

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

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Utah State Meets Boise State In Mountain West Semifinal Rubber Match