UTAH STATE AGGIES

Bovine Blog: No. 18 Utah State Improves With ‘Gut-Check Game’

Jan 22, 2024, 2:05 PM | Updated: 2:57 pm

LOGAN, Utah – Ranked 18th in the AP Poll and 20th in the Coaches Poll, Utah State gets an opportunity to breathe before they continue Mountain West play against the Boise State Broncos this weekend.

Utah State (17-2, 5-1) responded to its first loss since November 11 with an imposing defensive effort against Fresno State.

RELATED: Cougars & Aggies Drop In Latest AP Top 25, Utes Receive Votes

“This was a gut-check game for our guys,” Danny Sprinkle said. “We challenged them the last two days. I don’t mind losing, but how we lost, that bothers me. We got out-toughed and out-physicaled, and these guys answered the bell. I’m proud of them.”

“Being aggressive and being tough,” Ian Martinez said after finishing with 14 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and two blocks against the Bulldogs.  “That was the bottom line. We had to go out there and give the first punch. The aggressors always win. That was important for us coming into this game.”

Fresno State scored the game’s first bucket and never led again against a USU team that was happy to play in front of its rabid fan base after difficult road matchups with UNLV and No. 25 New Mexico.

Sprinkle thanked the Aggie’s home crowd sixth man after the win.

“From a coach and a player standpoint, how much they mean to us during the game with their energy. When things aren’t going good and they’re loud. Not only do they affect our energy, but it affects the opponent’s. Couldn’t be more thankful for our fans and the Hurd.”

The win assured USU of a spot in the updated polls, making it three straight weeks in the Top 25.

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The Aggies face the Boise State Broncos (13-5, 4-1) on Saturday, January 27 at ExtraMile Arena in Boise, Idaho. Tip-off is at 2 p.m. (MT). Boise State received nine votes in the latest AP Top 25.

Utah State is 36-21 all-time against the Broncos in a series that began in 1974. USU won by 13 in last year’s regular-season finale, ending a five-game losing streak to Boise State. The Aggies followed that win by upsetting BSU in the Mountain West Tournament semifinals with a 72-62 win.

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. 18 Utah State Improves With ‘Gut-Check Game’