The Utah State men’s basketball team won their opening exhibition game on Friday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum, defeating the University of Providence Argonauts 98-54. Sophomore guard Koby McEwen led all scorers with 17 points.
“Great to be back out on the Spectrum floor and get the kinks out,” coach Tim Duryea said. “I thought we started the game with a really good defensive presence. Our guys translated our game prep and carried that over to the game. They did a tremendous job in carrying out the jobs that we prepared them to do.”
The game was an offensive showcase for USU. As a team, the Aggies assisted on 26 of their 31 field goals, and also put up 38 3-point field goal attempts, converting 15 of them at a 39.8 percent clip. Freshman Brock Miller scored nine points, all on 3-point field goals. Junior DeAngelo Isby, senior Alex Dargenton, and freshmen Abel Porter and Daron Henson each added two treys of their own.
“We have a lot of confident guys that don’t shy away from the moment,” McEwen said of the team’s fast-paced, high-octane offense. “We’ve got a very versatile lineup, we’re small but we can use that to our advantage. We’re usually feisty, and we like to push… I like the way our guys played.”
In a game that Utah State was expected to win handily, the Aggies dominated in nearly every facet of the game. USU enjoyed sizeable advantages in the turnover margin, rebounding, fastbreak points, points in the paint, and bench scoring. Sophomore guard Sam Merrill led USU with eight assists, while also registering zero turnovers.
Despite the stats, the team vocalized the desire to get better.
“We need to clean up a lot of things, especially rebounding,” McEwen said. “We’ll just get back to the drawing board on Monday, see what we need to fix, and work on it.”
Julion Pearre, one of only two seniors on the roster, was kept to the bench due to a non-contact injury suffered in practice.
“Four to six weeks with a calf tear,” Duryea said of Pearre’s timetable. “We were afraid of season-ending surgery, but they’re thinking sometime around the Utah game or right after.”
All told, the exhibitional warm-up was an overall success for the Aggies and an opportunity to translate the offseason’s work into substantial improvement under the lights in the Spectrum. Utah State will next play and officially kick off the regular season on November 11 at Weber State.