by Wade Denniston, USU Athletic Media Relations
LOGAN, Utah - Freshman guard Koby McEwen scored 19 points and grabbed a team-best seven rebounds as the Utah State men's basketball team pulled away late in the second half for a 76-66 non-conference victory over New Orleans on Monday night at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum.
Senior wing Jalen Moore added 18 points to move into a tie for 18th place with Shaler Halimon (1967-68) on the all-time scoring list with 1,284 points. The native of North Logan, Utah, also led the Aggies (6-4) in assists with a season-high-tying five.
Erik Thomas finished one rebound shy of a double-double for the Privateers (4-6) as he had 21 points and nine rebounds, both of which were game highs. Christavious Gill chipped in 12 points for New Orleans and Makur Puou had 10.
Senior guard Shane Rector finished with 13 points, three assists and two steals for the Aggies, who shot a sizzling 63.2 percent from the field (12-of-19) in the second half. Utah State shot 50.0 percent for the game (24-of-48) and outrebounded New Orleans 37-33.
The Aggies only led 33-31 at halftime and were ahead 57-54 with 5:24 to go, but used a 13-4 run to take a commanding 70-58 lead with 1:30 remaining. McEwen and Moore combined for 11 of Utah State's points during the game-clinching spurt.
New Orleans shot just 40.7 percent from the field (24-of-59) and committed 15 turnovers, which led to 11 points by the Aggies. However, 14 turnovers by Utah State led to 15 points for the visitors.
The game featured eight ties and 10 lead changes - all in the first half. McEwen broke a 29-all tie by knocking down a pair of free throws with just 1:12 remaining until intermission. Utah State never relinquished the lead after that.
The Aggies improved to 2-1 all-time against the Privateers, but this was the first meeting between the two schools since the 1975-76 campaign.
Utah State now turns its attention to in-state foe Weber State (4-6), which has won two straight, including a 93-85 victory over Utah Valley last Saturday in Ogden. The Aggies and Wildcats will square off at the Spectrum on Wednesday night at 7 o'clock.
For Aggie basketball ticket information, fans can contact the USU Athletics Ticket Office over the phone by calling 1-888-USTATE-1 or 435-797-0305 during regular hours of operation. Fans can also buy their tickets in person at the USU Ticket Office inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum or online by clicking on the "Buy Tickets" tab at www.UtahStateAggies.com.
Utah State men's basketball news and information is available on Facebook facebook.com/USUmen'sbasketball and on Twitter @Aggiehoops. Fans can also get USU men's basketball highlights on YouTube at youtube.com/UtahStateAthletics. Aggie fans can follow the Utah State athletic program at Twitter @USUAthletics, on Facebook at facebook.com/USUAthletics, or on Instagram @USUAthletics.
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