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USU basketball: Utah State claims 83-55 victory over Southern Virginia

Utah State men’s basketball beat Southern Virginia, 83-55, on Friday night in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in its only exhibition game of the 2016-17 season. Freshman guard Koby McEwen was close to perfect in his Utah State debut, leading the Aggies with 19 points and shooting 7-of-7 from the floor and 3-of-4 from the free-throw line, while adding five rebounds and a team-high three assists.

Every Aggie played during the game, with the bench outscoring Southern Virginia’s reserves, 45-17. Utah State also shared the ball well with 10 players recording at least one assist, six of which had two or more.

Southern Virginia jumped out to an early 14-8 lead six minutes into the game, but Utah State subbed an entirely different line into the game and redshirt sophomore wing Alexis Dargenton provided a spark with three blocks during the course of two minutes. The Aggies put together an 11-0 run following the change, and a McEwen layup with 8:22 to play gave the Aggies a 19-14 lead. And the home side never trailed again.

The Aggie defense held Southern Virginia to just 24 points in the first half and 31.4 percent (11-of-35) shooting, while scoring 38 and shooting 48.1 percent (13-of-27).

The Aggies opened the second on a 7-0 run, topped by a pair of free throws by senior wing Jalen Moore to put the Aggies up by 21, 45-24, with 17:44 on the clock. The margin grew to as much as 36, 83-47, in the second half with 4:32 to play before the final whistle was blown on the 83-55 Utah State victory.

Utah State shot 52.7 percent (29-of-55) from the floor during the game, with three Aggies scoring in double figures, including McEwen’s game-high 19, Moore with 12 and senior guard Shane Rector with 10. Rector also led the team in steals with three.

Dargenton had a game-high five blocks, and sophomore forward Norbert Janicek led the team with seven rebounds. The Aggies out-rebounded Southern Virginia, 45-35, with every Aggie collecting at least one.

Southern Virginia was led by junior center Cale Thornton and freshman guard Damen Thacker with 15 and 14 points, respectively. Thornton also led the Knights with nine rebounds, and Thacker led the team with four assists. Freshman center Tyler McCreadie contributed eight points and five rebounds.

USU will now turn its attention to the season opener, traveling to UC Irvine on Friday, Nov. 11. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. MT.