Bovine Blog: Previewing No. 18 Utah State Vs. Fresno State

Mar 13, 2024, 4:41 PM | Updated: Mar 14, 2024, 10:54 am

utah state ian martinez...

LOGAN, UT - JANUARY 20 : Donovan Yap Jr. #0 of the Fresno State Bulldogs has a shot blocked by Ian Martinez #4 of the Utah State Aggies during the second half of their game at Dee Glen Smith Spectrum the on January 20, 2024 in Logan, Utah.

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Perhaps the lone drawback to No. 18 Utah State’s outstanding regular season is waiting a few extra days to find out your first-round opponent. The waiting is over for the Aggies after Fresno State topped the Wyoming Cowboys in the first game of the Mountain West Championships.

Top-seed Utah State (26-5, 14-4) faces the ninth-seeded Fresno State Bulldogs (11-20, 4-14) in the 2024 Mountain West Men’s Basketball Championships on Thursday, March 14, at 1 p.m. MT.

RELATED: Latest Bracketology Report Has No. 18 USU Playing Close To Home

Fresno State advanced to the MW quarterfinals with a 77-73 win over Wyoming.

Isaiah Pope’s 22 points led the way, while Donovan Yap Jr added 16 and Xavier DuSell added 11 in 40 minutes. Leo Colimerio and Jalen Weaver each added ten points in the win.

RELATED: Great Osobor Named Mountain West Player Of The Year

“We have a great Fresno State team,” MW Coach of the Year Danny Sprinkle said when asked about the Bulldog’s win. “Any time you’re playing a team that played the day before and as some momentum because they won, they’re playing with some swagger. We know we’re gonna get their best shot… This time of year, when you’re playing so many times, it’s about us.”

Utah State vs. Fresno State

Utah State is 45-26 all-time against the Bulldogs and 1-0 in the Mountain West Championships.

The Aggies advanced to the 2019 MW title game after beating Fresno State 85-60 in the semifinals. Five Aggies scored in double figures: Sam Merrill scored 22 points, guard Diogo Brito had 20 off the bench, guard Abel Porter had 11, and guard Brock Miller had 10. Center Neemias Queta recorded his 10th double-double of the season with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

USU was 2-0 against Fresno State during the regular season.

Game One – Utah State 83 | Fresno State 62

These teams faced off in a lopsided 21-point home win for Utah State on January 20.

Great Osobor led the Aggies with a 20-point, 12-rebound double-double. Ian Martinez added 14 points, seven rebounds, and six assists, while Josh Uduje (12 points) and Darius Brown II (11 points) each reached double figures.

Isaiah Pope led the Bulldogs with 16 points. Isaiah Hill added five points, ten assists, and three steals in the loss.

Game Two – Fresno State 73 | Utah State 77 (OT)

Utah State led most of the night before the Bulldogs took a second-half lead. Darius Brown tried to get fouled on the final possession but hit a three instead, forcing overtime. USU regrouped in the extra period to grab the four-point win.

Brown II got going late to finish with 15 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists. Great Osobor led all scorers with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Mason Falslev and Josh Uduje added 15 points each.

Four Bulldogs finished with double-figure points, led by Isaiah Hill’s 21. Xavier DuSell added 16 points in the loss.

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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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Bovine Blog: Previewing No. 18 Utah State Vs. Fresno State