akoiki-passport2 – by Adesina O. Koiki
A Lot of Sports Talk editor-in-chief

LAS VEGAS — We get it, Mountain West Conference! You’re one of the best, most competitive and, at many points, unpredictable leagues in the entire country. But did you have to truly display all those traits in one thrilling, heart-stopping, breath-taking afternoon of tournament action?

Both the regular season champions of this year, Utah State, and last year, San Diego State, advanced to the semifinals of the 2024 Mountain West Conference Tournament on Thursday, but both needed an extra session to hold off their game opponents. For the 2024 outright league winners, the Aggies used a historic game from forward Great Osobor, the league’s player of the year, to finally shake No. 8 Fresno State 87-75 in the first quarterfinal game. Osobor scored 29 points and grabbed a career-high 17 rebounds to propel the Aggies, who scored the first 10 points of the overtime to create the breathing room it needed.

Fresno State, who also lost in overtime at home to the Aggies just two weeks ago on February 27, ended regulation on an 8-0 run to tie the game. Six-foot guard Isaiah Hill had 17 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists while playing 43 out of a possible 45 minutes.

The thrills of free basketball continued deeper into the afternoon, with last year’s champion and national runner-up, San Diego State, exacting revenge on UNLV when it mattered most, with the Aztecs coming away with a 74-71 overtime victory. Though the Rebels scored the final four points in regulation, including a Dedan Thomas jumper at the buzzer to tie the game and force OT, San Diego State showed resolve in the extra session after being down for most of those five minutes. Jaedon LeDee hit a jumper in the lane with 13 seconds left to give them their first lead of the overtime, and his two free throws on the next possession provided the final margin. Thomas missed a three-pointer at the buzzer trying to force a second overtime for the Rebels.

*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Thursday’s event, with all photos taken by Las Vegas-area photographer Christopher Trim. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 58 pictures in total.


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Tags : College BasketballFresno State BulldogsMountain West ConferenceSan Diego State AztecsUNLV RebelsUtah State Aggies

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