No. 22 Utah State shuts down Boise State 80-61 to break 1st-place tie in Mountain West


LOGAN, Utah (AP) — Mason Falslev scored a season-high 25 points and No. 22 Utah State blew out Boise State 80-61 on Saturday night to grab sole possession of first place in the rugged Mountain West Conference.

Darius Brown II added 18 points, nine rebounds and five assists for the Aggies (20-4, 8-3), who improved to 11-1 at home. Isaac Johnson scored 14, and Great Osobor had 10 points and 10 boards.

The teams began the night tied atop the crowded league standings with No. 25 New Mexico, which lost 80-77 to UNLV at home.

“This game was not about Xs and Os,” Utah State coach Danny Sprinkle said. “It’s not about, ‘Hey, we’re doing this against ball screens.’ I just said, ’Play hard. Period.’”

Boise State (16-8, 7-4) was led by Tyson Degenhart with 17 points and eight rebounds. Max Rice scored 12, but the cold-shooting Broncos matched their season low for points.

Falslev finished 10 for 13 from the field and Utah State limited Boise State to 35.6% shooting, including 29% while building a 41-30 halftime lead. Falsev was 6 for 8 in the opening half and scored 15 points, including 11 of his team’s first 16.

“(Falslev) was phenomenal,” Sprinkle said. “His mentality was (great) for 40 minutes. I haven’t seen him do it for 40 minutes and he did it for 40 minutes.”

Utah State held the Broncos scoreless for five minutes, going on a 13-0 run to open a 23-13 advantage midway through the first period.

“(Utah State) can get momentum in a hurry here,” Boise State coach Leon Rice said. “I’ve seen them do it a lot of times. They can really get it going and it rains down on you.”

Boise State started the second half 6 for 12 from the floor, but nine early points by Brown and two 3-pointers from Johnson kept the Aggies’ lead in double digits.

Utah State shot 60% in the second half.

“(Utah State) was beating us to every ball and they were just tougher than us tonight. They’re a good team and when they have it rolling from 3 it makes it hard to guard,” Leon Rice said.

BIG PICTURE

Boise State: After starting 7-2 in conference play, the Broncos have consecutive double-digit losses to Colorado State and Utah State.

Utah State: With first place on the line, the Aggies rebounded nicely from successive 14-point losses to San Diego State and Nevada. They reached 20 wins for the 33rd time in school history and 19th in the last 25 seasons.

UP NEXT

Boise State hosts Fresno State on Saturday.

Utah State visits Wyoming on Wednesday.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball

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