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Utah State hoops falls to Boise State in chippy, lopsided affair

Utah State Aggies head coach Ryan Odom reacts to a call during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Colorado State Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in Fort Collins, Colo. Colorado State beat Utah State 77-72.

Utah State Aggies head coach Ryan Odom reacts to a call during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Colorado State Wednesday, Jan. 12, 2022, in Fort Collins, Colo. Colorado State beat Utah State 77-72. (Jack Dempsey, Associated Press)

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LOGAN β€” With the game all but decided, the bad blood started to spew at the Extra Miles Arena on Saturday afternoon.

Utah State's Taylor Funk and Boise State's Chibuzo Agbo exchanged words and technicals. Dan Akin and Max Rice were tangled up and got into each other's faces. And Broncos fans gleefully cheered the ruckus on.

It's clear the two sides don't like each other; and in the first meeting for the 2022-23 season, Boise State had all the room to talk.

In its first heavyweight bout of Mountain West play on Saturday, the Aggies were thoroughly outplayed in every facet of an 82-59 defeat. Boise State outrebounded Utah State 41-29, out-shot them 50% to 40% from the field, and 58% to 33% from 3-point range.

Round 1, Broncos.

"The only thing I worry about is it might become a Quad 2 game after that since we beat them by 20," said Rice, son of Boise State head coach Leon Rice, to Idaho reporters after the game.

"I think it was certainly their night, not ours," Utah State coach Ryan Odom said. "We were very short of executing on either side of the ball throughout the game."

The first opportunity for a Quad 1 win on the season quickly devolved into a nightmarish afternoon for the now 13-3 Utah State, which resulted in the most lopsided loss of the Odom tenure in Logan.

While Funk had a team high 14 points, the Aggies' leading scorer, Steven Ashworth, struggled throughout the game and shot 1-of-8 from the field for 4 points. Max Shulga went an abnormally inefficient 3-of-9 from the field, and Zee Hamoda was 0-of-5.

Starting guard Rylan Jones, who suffered a concussion earlier this season, was knocked out of the game in the second half after taking a hit to the upper body. His status is unknown.

The Aggies opened the game just 1-of-12 from 3-point range and trailed by as much as 25 points in the game.

Meanwhile, the Broncos stars shined. Tyson Degenhart was 8-of-14 shooting for a game high 19 points. Rice added 14 points, and three other Boise State players reached double figures.

In front of a sellout crowd, the Broncos were amped up and continued to press the tempo late into the game as the team buried 3-pointers into the waning moments to pad the lead.

"You've gotta give their crowd and their fans a lot of credit," Odom said. "They stepped up for their team."

Boise State jumped on Utah State early and led 26-15 off an 8-0 run. The Aggies tried to claw back some momentum when Jones hit a 3-pointer at the top of the key before the visitors forced a turnover. Shulga's ensuing open corner look rimmed out, and Marcus Shaver Jr. buried a 3-pointer on the other end to complete the 3-point swing to go back up.

"I thought we had some open looks β€” some that we've been making β€” that didn't go down that could have changed the feeling that we had within the game, but they didn't," Odom said. "And Boise was able to secure those rebounds and turn some into baskets."

After trailing 45-30 at halftime, the second half opened with a layup from Degenhart and a turnover from Sean Bairstow to set the tone. The Broncos dominated the glass in the second half, got second-chance looks, hit shots, and led by 21 points midway through the half.

The Aggies tried to will their way back into the game, with back-to-back triples from Funk and a layup from Trevin Dorious to cut the deficit to 15 with 9:08 remaining, but the hosts were unrelenting and kept Utah State from getting into a rhythm offensively. The Broncos continued to bury shots on the other end.

Late in the game, things nearly escalated when Funk took exception to something Agbo told him and responded by bumping into him. Both players picked up technical fouls. Moments later, Rice wrapped his arm around Akin while trying to navigate a screen, and the two got into each other's faces, which resulted in another double technical.

"Technicals are not what either team wants to (have)," Odom said. "Double technicals are not OK for either program, and so it just is what it is; we have to be better than that. Obviously, (Leon Rice) is going to talk to his team, and I'm going to talk to my team about that. It's just not OK to react inappropriately to competition like that."

Utah State will look to shake off its loss with a home game Tuesday night against Wyoming.

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