Career Night For Ian Martinez Leads Utah State Over Santa Clara

Dec 13, 2023, 10:11 PM | Updated: 10:31 pm

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Utah State guard Ian Martinez is swarmed by defenders in an Aggie win over the Marshall Thundering Herd in the Cayman Islands Classic on Sunday, November 19.

LOGAN, Utah – With their teammates in need of a pick-me-up, Ian Martinez and Darius Brown II combined for 51 points in an 84-82 win over Santa Clara for Utah State’s ninth straight victory.

USU improved to 10-1 with the win in its final road tune-up of the non-conference schedule.

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Martinez netted a career-high 28 points, making four threes and grabbing four rebounds. He made 8-of-12 shots from the field and knocked down 8-of-10 free throws

Brown II finished with a season-high 23 points and seven assists. Great Osobor was uncharacteristically quiet on offense, finishing with nine points and 10 rebounds. It was the first time Osobor failed to reach double-digit scoring as an Aggie.

Adama Alpha-Bal led five SCU players in double-figures with 18 points. Carlos Marshall Jr. added 16 points and Johnny O’Neil had 15.

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First Half

After an early Ian Martinez three, Utah State missed seven straight shots as the Broncos built a 7-3 lead heading into the first media timeout.

Darius Brown II ended the Aggie scoring drought at just under five minutes when he hit a driving floater and drew a foul. After hitting the freebie, USU trailed 9-6.

Utah State missed 13 of its first 16 FGs.

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Threes from Max Agbonkpolo and Josh Uduje spurred an 8-0 run that gave the Aggies a 19-17 lead with 9:03 left in the half. Five of USU’s first seven field goals came from deep.

With Santa Clara leading by eight, Martinez ended another long Aggie scoring drought when he took away a Broncos pass and sprinted for an easy transition layup. USU trailed 31-25 at the final media timeout of the half.

The senior from Costa Rica would score 11 straight points for an Aggie team starved for offense.

Buoyed by Martinez, USU closed the half on a 19-12 run to even the score at 43 heading into the break.

Martinez equaled his season-high, leading the Aggies with 15 points on 6-of-9 shooting while Brown II added 11 points and three assists. Johnny O’Neil led the Broncos with 11 first-half points.

Second Half

Shooting hiccups continued for both teams as they opened the second half missing a combined 11 of 16 shots. Leading scorer Great Osobor (19.5 ppg) hit two free throws but opened the night 1-of-11 from the field.

Trailing by one, Martinez blocked a shot keying a fast break that led to a Kalifa Sakho dunk on the other end.

Despite shooting 33.9 percent, the Aggies kept the game close thanks to offensive rebounds and 15 Bronco turnovers. Nearly 11 minutes into the second half, USU had attempted 19 more shots than SCU thanks to 13 offensive boards.

Utah State trailed 66-64 at the under-eight minute timeout.

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A layup with 4:36 left tied the game at 70 and gave Martinez a career-high 20 points.

The experience of Martinez and Brown II allowed USU to hold on down the stretch as Martinez hit several free throws in the final minute to seal an 84-82 Aggie win.

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USU returns to Utah for a neutral site matchup at Delta Center, home of the Utah Jazz, against the San Francisco Dons. Tip-off is at 2 p.m. (MT) on Saturday, December 16.

The Aggies are 2-0 all-time against San Francisco. Last December, Utah State beat USF 82-64 in a game played at Chase Center, home of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

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

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Career Night For Ian Martinez Leads Utah State Over Santa Clara