Experience, Toughness Lead Aztecs To Upset Win Over No. 17 Utah State

Feb 3, 2024, 3:46 PM | Updated: Feb 5, 2024, 11:25 am

LOGAN, Utah – San Diego State’s defense controlled the second half in an 81-67 win over No. 17 Utah State, demonstrating its experience as the 2023 national runner-up.

The Aggies lost in San Diego for the tenth straight game and have not beaten the Aztecs on the road since 1998.

RELATED: Is Great Osobor Making A Case For Mountain West POTY?

Three USU players scored in double-figures. Freshman Mason Falslev made 7 of 11 shots for 16 points. Junior Great Osobor added 17 points and seven rebounds, playing much of the second half in foul trouble. Darius Brown II scored 13 points, grabbed eight rebounds, and dished out five assists.

Jay Pal and Jaedon LeDee led the Aztecs with 16 points each.

First Half

Utah State started fast, hitting four of its first six shots and forcing two turnovers to take a 9-7 lead into the first timeout.

Back-to-back threes, including a four-point play from Darius Brown II, increased the advantage to 16-11 with less than 14 minutes left in the half.

RELATED: Osobor Scores 31, Leads No. 17 USU Over San Jose State

After SDSU took a brief 17-16 lead, the Aggies used an 8-0 run to jump back in front by seven.

The Aztecs responded by extending their pressure defense to mid-court, slowing USU’s offense down enough to go on a 16-5 run across more than five minutes.

Ian Martinez stopped the run by drawing a foul on a three-point shot and making all three free throws to make it 33-32 SDSU.

Utah State’s defense held the Aztecs without a point for more than three minutes before an offensive rebound and putback broke the scoring drought in the final minute. SDSU took a 42-36 lead into the halftime locker room.

Brown II led all scorers with 11 points. Jay Pal was perfect from the field, finishing with ten first-half points. Five Aggies ended the half with two fouls.

Second Half

A team that has repeatedly proven that it knows how to make halftime adjustments, USU came out of the break and immediately gave the basketball to its leading scorer. Great Osobor took the first possession of the half and hit a short hook shot, giving him eight points.

RELATED: Utah State’s Danny Sprinkle Earns 100th Career Win

While the Aggies attacked the paint, San Diego State began to find the range from three.

Isaac Johnson picked up his third personal foul, sending Jaedon LeDee to the line. The Aztecs led 49-40 after LeDee hit both free throws. They took an 11-point lead, their largest lead of the afternoon, into the first media timeout of the half.

SDSU maintained its lead by trading long scoring droughts, taking a 63-54 advantage into the under-eight-minute timeout.

USU closed the gap to seven, but two Elijah Saunders buckets bumped the lead back to 12 and forced an Aggie timeout.

SDSU enjoyed its home court advantage, pulling away for a 14-point win.

Following USU With KSL Sports Zone

Utah State (19-3, 7-2) hosts the Nevada Wolfpack (17-5, 4-4) on Tuesday, February 6. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. (MT). USU is 36-24 all-time against the Wolfpack but holds a commanding 24-6 advantage at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. These teams split the series last season, with each program winning on its home floor.

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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Experience, Toughness Lead Aztecs To Upset Win Over No. 17 Utah State