by Wade Denniston, USU Athletic Media Relations
LOGAN, Utah – Utah State celebrated Senior Night in emphatic fashion with a 79-67 win over UNLV on Saturday at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
With the win, the Aggies (15-16, 8-10 Mountain West) earned the No. 7 seed for the upcoming Mountain West Tournament, which will take place Wednesday through Saturday, March 7-10, at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nev. USU will open against 10th-seeded Colorado State on Wednesday at 2:30 p.m. (MT).
Prior to Saturday night’s game, Utah State honored its two seniors, Alex Dargenton and Julion Pearre, who both got the start against the Runnin’ Rebels (19-12, 8-10 MW). Dargenton finished with 12 points, five assists and four rebounds, while Pearre added six points, three assists and two boards.
Sophomore guard Koby McEwen led the Aggies with 18 points, five rebounds, four assists and two steals. Fellow sophomore guard Sam Merrill contributed 15 points as USU shot 50 percent from the field (29-of-58) on the night, including 40.7 percent (11-of-27) from 3-point range, and 71.4 percent from the free throw line (10-of-14).
Utah State, which swept the season series against UNLV for the first time in school history, shared the ball extremely well as it tied its season high in assists with 23. Six different Aggies had at least three helpers against UNLV, which lost its fifth consecutive game.
The Runnin’ Rebels had four players finish in double-figure scoring. Brandon McCoy led the way with 18 points, Tervell Beck had 17, Shakur Juiston tallied 12 and Jordan Johnson chipped in 10.
Dargenton gave the Aggies the lead for good at 23-22 when he knocked down a pair of free throws with 5:32 remaining in the first half.
Utah State closed the first 20 minutes of play on a 17-6 run to head into the break with a 42-30 lead. A Dargenton layup just 12 seconds into the second half made it a 14-point cushion for the Aggies, but UNLV countered with a 16-4 run to trim the deficit to 48-46 with 14:55 remaining.
That’s as close as the Runnin’ Rebels would get the rest of the way, however. A game-changing 24-7 spurt by the hosts gave them their largest lead of the night at 72-53 with 6:11 to go.
UNLV shot 53.1 percent from the field (26-of-49), including 23.1 percent from beyond the arc (3-of-13), and 66.7 percent from the charity stripe (12-of-18). The 67 points scored by the Runnin’ Rebels proved to be a season low.
Utah State men’s basketball news and information is available on Facebook (facebook.com/usumen’sbasketball) and on Twitter (@usubasketball). Fans can also get USU men’s basketball highlights on YouTube (youtube.com/utahstateathletics). Aggie fans can follow the Utah State athletic program on Twitter (@usuathletics), on Facebook (facebook.com/usuathletics) or on Instagram (@usuathletics).
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