UTAH STATE AGGIES

Toughness Lifts Utah State In Physical Overtime Win Over Fresno State

Mar 14, 2024, 3:27 PM | Updated: Mar 15, 2024, 9:56 am

LAS VEGAS, Nevada – Fresno State gave top-seeded Utah State a scare, but the 18th-ranked Aggies pulled away in overtime for an 87-75 win.

First-seed Utah State (27-5, 15-4) win steak increased to six games with a victory over the  Fresno State Bulldogs (11-21, 4-15) in the 2024 Mountain West Men’s Basketball Championships.

RELATED: How To Watch 2024 Mountain West Basketball Championships

Darius Brown II, with 17 points and 11 assists, and Great Osobor, with 29 points and 17 rebounds, gave both sides of the dynamic duo double-doubles. Osobor attempted 24 free throws, the second most in MW tournament single game history. Javon Jackson’s career-high 16 points and five rebounds helped make up for the absence of Mason Falslev, who was a late scratch with an injury.

Jalen Weaver scored a career-high 19 points to led the Bulldogs in defeat.

First Half

Playing without freshman guard Mason Falslev because of an injury, Ian Martinez picked up two quick fouls that further limited the Aggie depth to open the game. Mountain West Player of the Year Great Osobor helped USU to an early lead with an and-one finish.

RELATED: Great Osobor Named Mountain West Player Of The Year

USU hit three straight shots to take a 16-10 lead into the second media timeout. Javon Jackson and Karson Templin combined for six points in the opening minutes, nearly equaling their season average.

Fresno State took advantage of five straight Aggie misses, going on a 12-0 run to grab a 20-16 lead. The nearly five-minute scoreless stretch ended when Darius Brown II found Osobor for a fast break dunk. The Bulldogs led 22-18 with 7:37 left in the half.

Utah State missed 10 of 11 shots at one point and started 0-7 from deep.

Late in the half, Brown’s first basket sparked a 7-0 run that turned a 33-26 deficit into a tie game, forcing Fresno State to call a timeout with 1:37 left in the half.

Fresno State took a 36-35 lead into halftime. Great Osobor led all scorers with 16, while former SLCC Bruin Jalen Weaver led the Bulldogs with 10 points and six rebounds.

Second Half

Fresno State’s Enoch Boakye and Xavier DuSell each picked up their fourth foul early in the second half, sending both starters to the bench for an extended period.

With two starters riding the pine, Osobor started to feast in the paint with a big two-handed slam.

RELATED: Sprinkle Honored As COY, USU Players Named To All-MWC Teams

Minutes later, Brown beat the shot clock with a deep three, and both offenses started heating up from the perimeter. After struggling for most of the game, the teams combined to make four straight threes.

Fresno State then used a seven-point run to tie the game at 57 after USU had threatened to pull away.

Tied at 62, Jackson and Brown hit back-to-back threes that helped Utah State push the lead to eight with 4:40 left.

Six consecutive missed shots from USU let the Bulldogs tie the game at 70. Both teams came up empty on a final possession to force overtime.

Overtime

Freshman Javon Jackson started overtime with a three that gave him a career-high 16 points.

Utah State went on to score the first 11 points of overtime for an eventual 87-75 win.

Following USU With KSL Sports Zone

No. 18 Utah State advances to the 2024 Mountain West Men’s Basketball Championships semifinals to face the winner of No. 4 UNLV vs. No. 5 San Diego State. The semifinals tip-off on Friday, March 15 at 7:30 p.m. MT.

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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Toughness Lifts Utah State In Physical Overtime Win Over Fresno State