No. 22 Utah State Beats New Mexico In Thriller To Secure Mountain West Regular Season Title

Mar 9, 2024, 8:54 PM | Updated: Mar 11, 2024, 2:02 pm

LOGAN, Utah – It took all 40 minutes and another clutch three in the final seconds from Darius Brown II, but Utah State paid the rent with an exhilarating 87-85 win over New Mexico. The win earns the Aggies their first outright Mountain West regular season title and a pass into the MW Tournament Championships quarterfinals.

USU (26-5, 14-4) hosted the New Mexico Lobos (22-9, 10-8) at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum on Saturday, March 9.

Ian Martinez scored 22 points to lead four Aggies in double figures. Great Osobor added a 21-point, 12-rebound double-double while Brown II finished with 19 points. Mason Falslev scored ten to round out the group.

Five Lobos scored in double figures with Mustapha Amzil’s 18 leading the way.

First Half

Ian Martinez ignited the HURD early when he soared over a defenseless Jemarl Baker Jr. for a fast break dunk and the foul three minutes in. Darius Brown II set Martinez up with a perfectly placed pass for the ferocious slam that gave USU an 8-6 lead.

Hot shooting from both teams kept the game close. New Mexico made 12 of its first 17 (70.6 percent) shots, while the Aggies hit 10 of 17 (58.8 percent) before the under-twelve-minute timeout.

RELATED: USU Junior Forward Named Finalist For Karl Malone Award

USU led 31-27 with 7:48 left in the half.

JT Toppin and Mustapha Amzil made up for Jamal Mashburn Jr.’s absence (illness), combining to make 9-of-11 shots, including three triples from Amzil, for 21 points. An 8-2 Lobo run knotted the game at 37 with 3:58 left.

New Mexico took a 44-39 lead into the break as the Aggies went more than four minutes without a field goal.

Second Half

Utah State came out of the locker room with a new intensity, turning a Great Osobor steal into a Mason Falslev layup on the other end. Minutes later, Osobor leaked out behind the defense for a fast break dunk that gave the Aggies a 47-46 lead.

Another New Mexico turned into a three for Martinez, setting the Spectrum crowd on fire.

RELATED: USU Clinches Share Of Mountain West Regular Season Crown

New Mexico punched right back, using a 5-0 run to take a 65-59 lead into the under-twelve timeout.

The Aggies battled back, making seven of nine shots to force a Lobo timeout with 2:07 left and USU in front 82-80.

Martinez and Donovan Dent traded dunks in the final 65 seconds as the game remained tied in the final seconds.

Brown hit a three with five seconds left to give Utah State an 87-84 lead. After a timeout, the Aggies chose to foul instead of allowing a three. Jaelen House made the first free throw and then intentionally missed the second.

House secured the offensive rebound, but time expired, giving USU an 87-75 win.

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Utah State enters the 2024 Mountain West Men’s Basketball Championships as the No. 1 overall seed. The Aggies will face the winner of No. 8 Wyoming vs. No. 9 Fresno State on Thursday, March 14, at 1 p.m. MT. USU beat both teams twice in the regular season.

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, Locals in MLB, and Salt Lake Bees. Follow Brian’s Bees, Beehive baseball, and Aggie athletics coverage here.

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No. 22 Utah State Beats New Mexico In Thriller To Secure Mountain West Regular Season Title