Bovine Blog: Utah State Proves Non-Conference Success Not An Illusion

Jan 2, 2024, 5:13 PM | Updated: Jan 3, 2024, 9:36 am

LOGAN, Utah – A nearly wire-to-wire, blowout win on the road against the Air Force Falcons showed that Utah State is a team to be taken seriously as Mountain West play opens in 2024.

At the very least, it proved Mountain West preseason polls that had the Aggies finishing ninth this season may have wildly underrated Danny Sprinkle’s first team in Logan.

“I thought we came out and played a pretty clean game,” Sprinkle said following the 88-60 win.

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A clean game would be an understatement as the Aggies shot 63 percent with nine turnovers on the road. Defensively, Sprinkle’s squad hounded the Falcons into 16 turnovers and hit 21-of-48 (43.8 percent) shots. USU held a Falcons team that made just under nine threes per game to a 2-of-14 (14.3 percent) performance.

It was the sixth time this season the Aggie defense has held an opponent under 21 percent from deep. Aside from some early foul trouble, Utah State’s defense built on itself all afternoon.

RELATED: Osobor’s Career-High Helps Utah State Subdue Air Force

“Once we adjusted, we got better moving our feet and playing a little more physical without fouling… I thought our defense was tremendous tonight,” Sprinkle commented.

Osobor’s Offense Opens Opportunities

Coming into the new year, junior wing Great Osobor’s 17.3 points and 9.2 rebounds per game led USU in both categories. Despite the gaudy numbers, Osobor had seen his box score production wane in recent games.

After notching four double-doubles in the Aggies first seven games and double-digit scoring in ten straight to open the year, he made 3-of-15 shots, scoring nine points in a win over Santa Clara. In his next outing, Osobor finished with six points and eight rebounds and was a near non-factor in a one-point win over San Francisco.

The Bradford, England native bounced back by putting up 15 points and 10 rebounds against ETSU, setting the stage for his performance against Air Force.

The 6’8 Osobor overpowered AFA in the post, getting several easy baskets in the half-court and transition. When the dust settled, he finished one rebound shy of his sixth double-double and had four assists to go with a career-high 32 points on 14 shots.

“I’m really proud of my team,” Osobor said after the win. “They helped me a lot, even when I’m not playing my best. They believe in me and my abilities. All credit to my team and coaching staff.”

For the season, the 2022-23 Big Sky Top Reserve adds 2.6 assists and 1.6 blocks to his nearly double-double points and rebounds average.

“This was a really good team that we played. Every game is going to be hard, it’s the Mountain West Conference at the end of the day,” Osobor said.

Following USU With KSL Sports Zone

Utah State will host the No. 13 Colorado State Rams (12-1, 0-0) on Saturday, January 6. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. (MT). USU is 61-43 all-time against CSU.

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

Find KSL Sports coverage of Utah State University Athletics here.

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Brian Preece is a KSLsports.com insider covering the Utah State Aggies and Salt Lake Bees. Follow Brian’s coverage of the Bees, Big League Utah, and Aggie athletics here.

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Bovine Blog: Utah State Proves Non-Conference Success Not An Illusion