by Wade Denniston, USU Athletic Media Relations
LOGAN, Utah – Sophomore guard Koby McEwen scored a game-high 20 points, to go along with five rebounds and four assists, as Utah State defeated Montana State in its home opener, 81-73, on Monday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
McEwen shot 7-for-14 from the floor as he helped the Aggies (1-1) turn a one-point deficit at halftime into a 16-point advantage with 7:08 remaining in the game.
With the win, Utah State improved to 52-9 in home openers dating back to the 1958-59 season, and has now won 24 straight home openers dating back to the 1993-94 campaign.
After being held scoreless in the first half, DeAngelo Isby scored all 18 of his points after intermission. The junior guard hit a pair of 3-pointers less than two minutes apart after the break to propel Utah State into the lead, 46-41.
The Aggies would never trail after that.
Utah State senior forward Alex Dargenton recorded the first double-double of his career with 11 points and 11 rebounds in just 16 minutes of playing time. Junior forward Dwayne Brown Jr., also had double-digit rebounds for the Aggies with 10, to go along with eight points and two assists.
Aided by Dargenton and Brown on the glass, Utah State outrebounded the Bobcats 41-28.
Montana State (1-1) was led by Tyler Hall and Harald Frey, who each scored 15 points. Joe Mvuezolo Jr. added 12 points for the Bobcats, while former Aggie Konner Frey chipped in 10 points off the bench.
The Aggies shot 56.0 percent for the game (28-of-50), including 55.6 percent from beyond the arc (10-of-18). In the second half alone, Utah State made five of its seven 3-pointers. The hosts did not shoot the ball particularly well from the free throw line, going 15-of-26 for 57.7 percent.
The Bobcats shot 42.9 percent from the field (27-of-63), including 34.6 percent from long range (9-of-26).
Isby’s first 3-pointer of the second half ignited a 16-4 run for the Aggies, helping them build a 56-45 lead with 13:40 to go. McEwen’s layup at the 7:08 mark made it 73-57.
The Bobcats did claw back, though, pulling to within 78-73 with 33 seconds remaining. But, that’s as close as they would get.
Utah State will remain at home Wednesday when the Aggies welcome Mississippi Valley State (0-2) to the Spectrum. The game will be broadcast on the Mountain West Network and is set to tip off at 7 p.m.
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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