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Feb 9, 2024 9:54 am

No. 22 Utah State bids to regain footing vs. Boise State

Utah State Aggies

Utah State and Boise State are two of the squads that enter Friday’s play as part of a four-team logjam atop the Mountain West.

One of those teams will not have any claim to first place after Saturday’s game as the Broncos and No. 22 Aggies meet at Logan, Utah.

No. 24 San Diego State, which plays Friday, and No. 25 New Mexico also were part of the first-place tie after the mid-week games in the ultra-competitive Mountain West.

Utah State (19-4, 7-3) was in sole possession of first place until losing back-to-back games to then-unranked San Diego State and Nevada. The latter team handed the Aggies a 77-63 loss on Tuesday to end Utah State’s 13-game home winning streak.

“I hate losing at home,” Aggies guard Mason Falslev said. “All those people came out to support us and cheer for us and all of us feel bad. We need to play harder for them.”

In the eyes of coach Danny Sprinkle, the effort was lacking.

“This is the second time in two games that we didn’t play hard, and I didn’t coach hard enough,” Sprinkle said.

Utah State shot just 39.3 percent from the field and was 5 of 21 from 3-point range in a game where it trailed by as many as 18 points.

Also, the Aggies scored fewer than 70 points for the second straight game. Utah State is 17-1 this season when hitting the 70-point mark.

Ian Martinez scored 16 points to pace the Aggies. He ranks second on the squad with a 13.8 scoring average.

Great Osobor leads Utah State in scoring (18.7) and rebounding (9.2). He had just 11 points and four rebounds against Nevada.

The Aggies are looking for a regular-season sweep of the Broncos. Utah State produced a 90-84 overtime win at Boise State on Jan. 27.

Darius Brown II scored 19 points and Martinez added 18 in that contest. Tyson Degenhart scored 24 points for Boise State.

Degenhart is coming off back-to-back stellar games. He scored a career-high 29 points on 11-of-12 shooting in a 94-56 rout of visiting Air Force last Saturday and followed up with 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting in Tuesday’s 75-62 road loss against Colorado State.

Degenhart understands there will be a lot of tension Saturday when the Broncos and Aggies hold their rematch.

“It’s going to be two angry teams, that’s for sure,” Degenhart said after the loss at Colorado State. “Emotions are going to be riding high, but we know what to do with the bounce back.”

Boise State coach Leon Rice knows winning in Utah State’s rowdy arena isn’t easy.

“That’s the tough part of this league, it’s just one good team after another,” Rice said. “To go on the road, you have to play an ‘A’ game to win.”

While Degenhart (team-best 16.1 points per game) thrived in the loss at Colorado State, the rest of the Broncos shot just 31 percent (13 of 42) from the field.

Second-leading scorer Chibuzo Agbo (14.4) was 3 of 10 shooting, third-leading scorer O’Mar Stanley (12.8) made 2 of 8 shots and fourth-leading scorer Max Rice (12.5) was 3 of 9. Only Rice (11) joined Degenhart in double digits.

Rice is averaging 11.5 points in two games since pouring in a career-best 35 during an 86-78 road upset of then-No. 19 New Mexico on Jan. 31.

–Field Level Media

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