Utah State takes down Air Force to begin Mountain West Conference tournament

The Aggies had five players in double figures, led by forward Brandon Horvath.

(Francisco Kjolseth | The Salt Lake Tribune) Utah State Aggies forward Brandon Horvath scores against the Brigham Young Cougars on Wednesday, Dec. 8, 2021. Horvath's double-double on Wednesday helped USU beat Air Force to open the Mountain West Conference tournament in Las Vegas.

The Utah State Aggies opened the Mountain West Conference tournament with an 83-56 rout of Air Force on Wednesday afternoon.

USU cruised to victory in Las Vegas behind a double-double from Brandon Horvath (18 points and 12 rebounds), one of five Aggies in double figures.

USU’s Justin Bean scored 16 points. Aggies Steven Ashworth, Sean Bairstow and Max Shulga each had 11.

“It’s super fun” to play like that, Hovarth said in a television walk-off interview. “That’s our identity.”

Air Force’s Joseph Octave had 21 points and 10 rebounds.

“They’re a really tough team to prepare for,” USU head coach Ryan Odom said of the Falcons. “They really challenge your defensive principles. I thought our guys did a really nice job.”

Utah State advances to take on the No. 2-seeded Colorado State Rams on Thursday. CSU beat the Aggies 77-72 on Jan. 12 and 66-55 on Feb. 26.

“We know they’re a really good team,” Horvath said. “We feel like we owe them one. We just have to come in, look at the tape, and play a lot harder than we did in the first two games and we’ll be good.”