Utah State Loses Big First Half Lead, Falls In Mountain Semifinals

Mar 15, 2024, 9:55 PM | Updated: Mar 18, 2024, 2:41 pm

LAS VEGAS, Nevada— Experience prevailed as No. 18 Utah State was outmuscled and outgunned in the second half of an 86-70 Mountain West semifinals loss.

Top-seed Utah State (27-6) faced fifth-seed San Diego State on Friday, March 15, in the 2024 Mountain West Men’s Basketball Championships.

Great Osobor led USU with 19 points, Ian Martinez added 16, and Isaac Johnson added 11. Utah State made 22-55 (40 percent) shots and 5-20 (25 percent) from deep.

Jaeden LeDee led all scorers with 22 points and eight rebounds despite fouling out late and playing with foul trouble most of the night.

First Half

A 9-0 run, spurred by a pair of paint buckets from Great Osobor, lifted USU to a 10-5 lead at the first timeout.

Aztec leading scorer Jaedon LeDee picked up two early fouls, sending him to the bench. Without LeDee, Micah Parrish made four of five shots to give SDSU a 15-14 lead with 11:55 left.

Kalifa Sakho came off the bench to score four quick points as the Aggies grabbed the lead.

A 15-1 run gave USU the first double-digit lead of the game, 27-16.

The lead ballooned to 17 when Javon Jackson hit a transition three. Utah State took a 34-19 lead into the under-eight-minute timeout.

After a timeout, SDSU went on a 9-0 run that cut the lead to single digits and forced Danny Sprinkle to call a timeout.

Utah State’s lead dwindled to 36-29 with 3:25 left in the half.

The Aggies missed seven of eight shots to end the first half, making one field goal in the final seven minutes, but still led 39-36 at halftime.

After a 22-2 USU run, the Aztecs closed the half on a 19-5 run.

Second Half

SDSU hit five of seven shots to open the half, taking a 51-48 lead.

Ian Martinez hit two threes to keep his team close while the offense sputtered.

San Diego State was on fire from the field, hitting four threes and eight of 11 shots to build a 60-53 lead with 11:28.

Trailing by 11, Isaac Johnson hit a big three, making it 69-61 with 7:06 left. Without stops on the other end, the Aggies couldn’t mount a run.

Utah State’s Mountain West tournament run ended with an 86-70 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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Utah State Loses Big First Half Lead, Falls In Mountain Semifinals