Utah State coach says Aggies did something that ‘will never be done in Division I basketball’ again

Darius Brown’s deep 3-pointer with 5 seconds remaining gave the Aggies their first outright Mountain West Conference title.

Utah State forward Great Osobor shoots the ball as New Mexico forward Mustapha Amzil (22) and guard Donovan Dent (2) defend during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March. 9, 2024, in Logan, Utah. (Eli Lucero/Herald Journal via AP)

Coming into the season, not one player on the Utah State men’s basketball team had ever scored a point for the Aggies.

That’s how much turnover and uncertainty new coach Danny Sprinkle inherited in Logan.

On Saturday, Sprinkle’s Aggies did something no other Utah State basketball team has ever done: win an outright Mountain West Conference title.

Darius Brown’s 3-pointer with 5 seconds on the clock gave USU an 87-85 win over New Mexico and sole possession of the regular season title for the first time in the Aggies’ 11 years in the league.

“Wow. I don’t have too many words,” Sprinkle said afterward. “This team, I don’t know how to describe them. I really don’t. What they’ve done — This will never be done in Division I basketball again, where literally, you don’t return a point or assist all that, and to win a Mountain West Championship. Not at this level, not at the Power Six level.

“What these guys have done and how they’ve come together — just selfless, and caring for each other, and loving and it’s real. You can see it. You don’t do what they did if they don’t truly care about each other.

With time winding down, the Aggies’ got the ball into the hands of forward Great Osobor.

“They all just sunk in,” Brown said of the New Mexico defense. “Our coaches always get mad at me for not moving off the ball, so I just wanted to find the right area for Great to find me and then Great made a great pass out and it was just a shot from there.”

Brown said the shot felt good the second it left his hand.

“It felt good. I was ready to shoot it,” he said. “Obviously, when the shot clock is going down those are sometimes, I’m not going to say the easiest, but it’s like you are comfortable. You know there is nothing to do but shoot it. You have one choice and that is to shoot it. As soon as I touched the ball, I knew the shot was going up. It was a great shot.”

Utah State fouled New Mexico on the ensuing inbounds to prevent a 3-point opportunity. The Lobos hit the first free throw but couldn’t get the shot they needed after an intentional miss.

“I appreciate everybody in this program for what they did because they gave Cache Valley and this community something they will never forget. It’s awesome. It was just meant to be that we would finish it the way that we did here. Not winning it on the road. The fans deserve this to be done in the Spectrum,” Sprinkle said. “It was a perfect ending to the regular season. I know it’s not coach speak like we want more and we need to get more, but it’s just a tremendous testament to their belief and faith in each other.”