Aggies glide past Northwest Nazarene for eighth straight win – Cache Valley Daily

Utah State basketball player Mason Falslev celebrates with the crowd at the Spectrum. Photo by Triston Hartfiel.

LOGAN — Outside of a truly dominant opening four minutes against Northwest Nazarene on Saturday, Utah State struggled to live up to some of the great play seen of the Aggies in recent games. Despite that struggle, USU was able to dispatch the Nighthawks by a score of 84-53.

“This game was way closer than the score,” USU head coach Danny Sprinkle said. “Sometimes our athleticism or their turnovers led to our easy points. But if they cut down some of those, I mean, it’s a lot closer game. They’ve got a good team.”

Those first four minutes, though, were a sight to behold though as the Aggies rode out to a 19-2 lead. Northwest Nazarene didn’t make a field goal in that span, missing each of its first eight shots while USU started 8 of 11 from the field.

But while the Aggies scored 19 points in just over four minutes, they would go scoreless over a nearly identical timespan immediately following the great start. Utah State missed four straight shots and had a couple of turnovers which gave the Nighthawks some room to breathe. The 19-2 lead was eventually whittled down to 21-14.

Part of why USU stalled so quickly came down to putting in four bench players quickly after the under-16 media timeout. The five-man lineup of Ian Martinez, Josh Uduje, Javon Jackson, Kalifa Sakho, and Karson Templin struggled to keep up any of the momentum from earlier in the game.

“I wasn’t really happy with our bench play,” Sprinkle said. “Their intent and their energy, it was off. And they’ve got to do a better job of that here moving forward if we want to continue to be successful.”

That’s not to say the Aggies were ever really in danger of losing. Utah State’s superior athleticism and size were just too much for Northwest Nazarene to handle unless they were playing at their absolute best and USU at its absolute worst. And even with some of Utah State’s hiccups, this was not the worst game it’ll play this year.

Case in point on the athleticism side, in the latter part of the first half the Aggies opened up a dunk party, led largely by Mason Falslev and Great Osobor. It was Osobor that made the first move, throwing down a monster alley-oop dunk off a pass from Falslev himself. It was a dunk worthy of Sportscenter’s Top 10.

Falslev would later land dunks on three straight possessions, drawing chants of his name from the crowd and also increasing his first-half point total to 10 points.

“He just played like Mason. He’s a ball of energy, man. He was terrific,” Sprinkle said. “He was flying around the whole game and we needed it.”

By halftime, the lead ballooned back to double figures, 46-29, and in the second half Utah State elevated its game to go up by 31 points, a margin it would hold until the end of the game.

The starters stayed in the game until fairly late, only coming out until roughly two minutes left in the game. Their play throughout the night ensured the Aggies were never in any danger and the usual suspects had solid games. Osobor finished with 17 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the year. Falslev had 14 points, five assists, three rebounds and four steals.

Darius Brown ended up with just five points, but tallied 11 assists (to just two turnovers) and a career-high six steals.

“Coach Sprinkle challenged me this week,” Brown said. “I had a meeting with him this week, a one-on-one meeting, talking about things that I need to get better at and things that are coming up in the season. And he held me accountable, and I just wanted to make sure my energy was high and as long as I don’t take plays off and I’m not lazy then things like that should be regular, as far as getting that many steals and having the type of night I had.”

This win wraps up a three-game home stand. Two of the Aggies’ opponents were lower-ranked or Division II teams, but a real test comes next week with a road game at Santa Clara and a neutral site contest against San Francisco at the Delta Center. Sprinkle said those two teams “will be probably the two best teams we’ve played” with both him and players emphasizing there are things for the team to work on.

“We’ve got to get a lot better,” Brown said. “We have two good teams coming up next week, Santa Clara’s next. So we have a lot of things that we have to work on, and it starts next practice.”

USU’s game at Santa Clara will take place on Wednesday, tip-off at 8 p.m. Mountain Time.

Source link

Share This Article



Related Articles