“3-0 baby,” – the phrase written on the board of the Utah State men’s basketball meeting room.
It was written prior to the game Saturday night against Idaho State University.
It’s now been fulfilled
The Aggies beat the Bengals, 85-51, in front of the 8,923 in attendance at the Spectrum.
The first half started off well enough for USU. They shot 51% from the field and junior Ngor Barnaba led the team with eight points, while Koby McEwen led in boards with six. The team went into the half with a 40-27 advantage.
Head coach Tim Duryea said he thought his guys may have helped too much with the Bengals’ pick and roll in the first half, but that overall the strong defensive effort from the first half is what feed into the offensive performance throughout the game.
The Aggies came out strong in the second half, something they’ve struggled to do in the past.
Senior Jalen Moore said coming out of the break tough was a goal for the team tonight.
“We knew we had to go out there and not let them think they could hang with us,” Moore said. “We had to go out and step on their throats a little. I think they got frustrated, we were making shots and they were turning the ball over.”
That frustration showed in Idaho State’s Ethan Telfair, who received a technical foul after complaining about a call he thought the officials missed under the basket.
This game hit close to home for Shane Rector, a senior from the Bronx, New York. Telfair, a New York native himself, and Rector have been playing against each other since they were nine years old.
“It always feels good to get the better side of a friendly rivalry,” Rector said. Head coach Tim Duryea said Rector – who finished with 17 points, seven assists and five steals on the night – took it personally to defend Telfair and stop him the way he did.
Moore also had a personal benchmark in the this game.
His father, Jimmy Moore was surpassed by his son tonight in career points.
Jimmy Moore recorded 1,164 career points and Jalen Moore is now at 1,173 after tonight’s game.
“I told him I was going to beat him when I came here,” Moore said.
Since he has come here, Moore has contributed a lot more than a family record.
“This is my fourth year coaching Jalen Moore as an assistant or head coach,” said Duryea of Moore and his contribution to the team. “And we haven’t had to say one word to him about lack of effort. He’s a leader more by example than vocally. Jalen has meant a lot to us on the floor and as far as getting good players to the program.”
Deep in the second half, Duryea rotated in four bench players, Abel Porter, Connor Garner, Alexis Dargenton, and Diogo Brito. Taylor stayed on the court with those four to close out the game.
“These guys play the way I would want to play,” said Duryea of the team’s aggressiveness and overall performance. “I tell them all the time that I like to watch them play.”