LOGAN, Utah - Utah State's men's and women's basketball teams previewed the 2017-18 season for fans Thursday night, as both teams scrimmaged and participated in shooting contests.
The night opened with the Shooting Stars competition with teams comprised of one men's player, one women's player and one student member of the HURD. The team featuring forward Deron Henson and forward Shannon Dufficy won the contest with Henson securing the victory with his half-court shot.
The Aggie women then took to the court for their 15 minutes of play. The team used the first minutes of the period to run its gameday drills before moving to the scrimmage. The Blue team took the victory, 22-17, led by seven points each from junior guard Rachel Brewster and sophomore forward Hailey Bassett. Redshirt sophomore Lindsey Jensen was the leading scorer on the White side of the court, also tallying seven points.
"The biggest value of a night like this is be out in front of a crowd and under the lights. Our first half was really tight without a lot of scoring, but it opened up in the second half," said head women's basketball coach Jerry Finkbeiner. "It was a good night and our girls were excited to be here."
Between the men's and women's scrimmages, members of the Utah State HURD also played a 10-minute exhibition game.
When the Aggie men took the court for their scrimmage, the White team came out victorious, defeating Blue, 33-21. Senior forward Alex Dargenton led the group with 14 points, as he went 6-for-7 from the floor. He also tallied a team-high five rebounds. Sophomore guard Sam Merrill added 12 points, shooting 5-for-6 on the night. Freshman guard Brock Miller led the Blue team with eight points.
"We have to be a team that spreads the floor and shoots the ball well from 3. So far, our emphasis in practice has been the pace at which we play and winning at the lines. I thought Sam and Alex showed their experience, having played a lot last year. One team turned it over a lot, the other team didn't, and that was the difference," said head men's basketball coach Tim Duryea. "Tonight was more about getting in front of people. It's hard to maintain any kind of intensity in a night like this. The main thing is you're getting out in front of people, feeling what the ball feels like when the lights are on and the referees are out there."
To wrap-up the night, the Aggie men and women were pitted against each other in a 3-point contest. Four players from each team went head-to-head, eventually eliminating players to a championship round. The men's team won three of the four preliminary rounds, with the final coming down to Miller and junior guard DeAngelo Isby. With a 60-second clock, the two ended in a tie, each hitting eight treys.
The 2017-18 season will get underway on Friday, Nov. 3, when the Utah State men host the University of Providence in exhibition play. The Aggie women will play their exhibition game the following day, hosting Westminster on Saturday, Nov. 3. Both teams will begin official competition on the road, as the men play at Weber State and the women at UC Irvine on Friday, Nov. 10.
Tickets for both men's and women's basketball are on sale now. Fans can purchase season tickets, or on a game-by-game basis. A women's sports pass is also available for $75, giving fans access to all home volleyball, women's basketball and gymnastics events. Fans can purchase tickets at the Utah State ticket office, located on the first floor of the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. Tickets are also available online at utahstateaggies.com/tickets, or by calling the ticket office at (435) 797-0305 or (888)-USTATE-1.
Utah State men's basketball news and information is available on Facebook at /USUmen'sbasketball and on Twitter @Aggiehoops. Fans can follow USU women's basketball on Twitter, @UtahStateWBB, on Instagram, @UtahStateWBB, as well as on Facebook, at /UtahStateWBB. Aggie fans can also follow Utah State Athletics on Twitter.com, @USUAthletics, on Instagram, @USUAthletics and on Facebook at /USUAthletics..
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