Utah State Holds Off Anteaters Late Run For Home Win

Dec 2, 2023, 9:03 PM | Updated: 9:40 pm

utah state basketball great osobor...

Utah State junior forward dribbles through traffic at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum

LOGAN, Utah – A late scoring drought kept the Anteaters close but Utah State held on in the final minutes for the 79-69 victory.

Utah State (7-1) hosted UC Irvine in the first of three straight games at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Saturday, December 2.

RELATED: Could Free Throws Limit Utah State As Season Continues?

Redshirt freshman Mason Falslev led Utah State with his hustle, finishing with a season-high 19 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Junior wing Great Osobor rebounded from a subpar first half to finish with 17 points and four rebounds. Ian Martinez added 12 and Josh Uduje scored a dozen off the bench.

Justin Hohn led UCI with 21 points, including 4-of-6 from deep. Dean Keeler contributed 15 points in the loss.

First Half

A shootout developed in the opening minutes with both defenses offering limited resistance. The Anteaters hit their first five shots while USU made 6-of-9 shots to take a 15-12 lead at the first media timeout.

The Aggies followed a hot start by going scoreless for nearly four minutes before Max Agbonkpolo knocked down a jumper.

The Anteaters took advantage of Aggie misses as they made five of seven shots to take a 23-21 lead with 11:01 left in the half.

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Great Osobor’s first basket brought USU within a point with 6:22 in the half. Utah State’s leading scorer missed his first three shots as UCI sent multiple defenders his way every time he touched the ball.

Agbonkpolo and Ian Martinez helped keep the Aggies close, combining for 15 points and two threes off the bench in the half.

USU took a 42-41 lead into the break.

Second Half

Both teams seemingly took some extra time in the locker room as neither offense could muster a point for the opening 1:41 of the second half. Osobor broke the drought when he knocked down one of two free throws.

USU went on a 6-0 run, keyed by three straight buckets from Osobor. Taking advantage of a frenzied pace, the junior from England scored seven points in the first four minutes of the second half.

The Anteaters went without a field goal for 3:37, allowing Utah State to build a 51-46 lead.

RELATED: USU Claims Cayman Islands Classic Title In Blowout Win

Darius Brown II’s fifth assist led to a highlight reel fast break dunk from Josh Uduje.

Utah State’s lead ballooned to 12 when a 10-0 run forced the Anteaters to call a timeout with USU leading 63-51 and 10:42 left to play.

The run continued out of the timeout as the Aggies kept their foot on the pedal. By the under-eight minute timeout, USU had turned a modest 53-51 lead into a 70-54 upper hand.

Utah State suddenly went cold, going without a field goal for more than five minutes as UCI went on a 13-4 run.

Martinez went one one-on-one with the shot clock winding down, hitting a driving layup to stop the Aggies scoring drought. The bucket gave USU a 76-67 lead with 1:36 left.

Utah State improved to 7-1 with a 79-69 win.

Following USU With KSL Sports Zone

USU welcomes the San Diego Toreros (6-2) into the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Wednesday, December 6. Tipoff is at 7 p.m. (MT). Led by former UCLA head coach Steve Lavin, the Toreros lost 91-89 to Utah State in an overtime thriller.

Listen to USU basketball games on KSL Sports Zone with Scott Garrard on the call.

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Utah State Holds Off Anteaters Late Run For Home Win