With little under 30 seconds left in the first half, freshman guard Koby McEwen had only two points in the Aggies’ opening game against San Jose State in the Mountain West Conference Tournament.
It’s tough to explain exactly what followed other than that McEwen realized that he was the rightful owner of the entire court and the second half. Including a three within the final few seconds of the first half, McEwen staked his claim by putting up 25 of his 27 points over the final 20:05 of the game.
“In the second half, I didn’t really come out saying I’m going to start gunning, it just felt right,” McEwen said of his monstrous second half. “Every time I felt right taking the shot, I just shot it and my instincts took over. And usually when I do that, good things happen.”
McEwen has put together one of the most stellar seasons of second halves this year, powering the Aggies in the second half of victories over some of the Mountain West’s elite. Tuesday’s performance, however, was something else. In the span of merely a minute that included his three at the end of the first, the MW Freshman of the Year scored nine points to put the Aggies up by six. Utah State never trailed the remainder of the game.
We talk about McEwen a lot in the world of Aggie sports, but it’s still hard to adequately wrap our minds around what the Toronto native has accomplished this year. His 27 points are the most by a freshman in a postseason game in Aggie history.
The game was also his seventh 20-point game of the season, the most for an Aggie freshman since Jaycee Carroll also eclipsed the mark seven times in 2005. Carroll, by the way, received Freshman All-American honors from several outlets that season.
I remember attending a game in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum last season. I can’t remember who we were playing or what the game was like, but I do remember an occurrence completely outside of the game. There had been some buzz generating among USU fans about a four-star recruit committing to the Aggies. Stories were told. High school statistics were brought up. Koby McEwen was introduced during the game, at least by the PA, and received a thunderous applause from the rest of the crowd in attendance. No one really knew what this largely unknown recruit was capable of, however, or if he could measure up to the hefty expectations laid upon him before even stepping foot on the court or donning an Aggie uniform for the first time. His first taste of conference tournament action leaves no doubt.
He deserves all of it.