Bovine Blog: No. 16 Utah State Shows Fight Despite Road Loss

Jan 17, 2024, 12:03 AM | Updated: 11:14 am

LOGAN, Utah – No. 16 Utah State saw its 15-game winning streak, the longest in the country, end against New Mexico, with the Lobos using their own sixth man to pull away for a 99-86 win on Tuesday night.

The Aggies fell to 16-2 overall and 4-1 in Mountain West play. Despite seeming overwhelmed at times, USU showed a fight that should continue to serve them well this season.

RELATED: Defense Falters As Winning Streak Ends Against New Mexico

“Give New Mexico a lot of credit,” head coach Danny Sprinkle said after the game. “They kept us on our heels all game. Their guards are so fast and quick… I thought their bigs punked us.”

After giving up eight steals and 18 points off turnovers in the first half, the Aggies went into halftime trailing by 16, their largest deficit of the season.

The Pit crowd was rocking, and many good teams have folded under that pressure.

“There was a physicality and speed issue. We got nothing easy at the rim… They were making us earn everything.” USU head coach Danny Sprinkle

The lead ballooned to 20 with 17:57 to play when before Ian Martinez, Mason Falslev, and Darius Brown II combined to score 26 of the team’s next 28 points, cutting the Lobo advantage to seven.

It was the type of attack that shows how many options the nation’s No. 16 team has offensively. If it isn’t two-time Mountain West Player of the Week Great Osobor with his back to the basket, there are several other Aggies that defense must account for each possession.

“I’m proud of our team,” Sprinkle said. “We cut it to seven, and we had two open threes. If we could have knocked one of those down, you just never know what happens.”

Utah State Returns Home Healthy After Scare

Despite seeing the nation’s longest winning streak end, Utah State can consider themselves fortunate to leave the Pit with only a loss in the standings and not on the depth chart.

Early in the second half, graduate senior point guard Darius Brown II came up lame, briefly grabbing his left leg before gingerly making his way to the bench. Brown sat for about four minutes before re-entering. The Pasadena, California native showed no ill effects after returning.

Later in the half, Aggie fans all over Utah waited with baited breath after Osobor stayed down following hard contact with just over four minutes to play. After a timeout, the 6’8 junior walked off the floor under his own power. Sprinkle reported good news following the game.

“He’s fine. It’s big boy basketball and it’s good for him to go through this stuff.”

Osobor entered the week leading the Aggies and is second in the MW, averaging 18.9 points and conference-leading 9.6 boards per game.

Following USU With KSL Sports Zone

The Aggies return to the Spectrum for a date with the Fresno State Bulldogs (8-9, 1-3) on Saturday, January 20. Tip-off is at 2 p.m. (MT).

USU has controlled the series with Fresno in recent years, going 8-2 in the past ten games, and is 43-26 all-time against the Bulldogs. Utah State has a 26-8 record at home against Fresno State.

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: No. 16 Utah State Shows Fight Despite Road Loss