Aggies dunk all over Spartans in first-round win Wedensday, march 8, 2017

Utah State came into Wednesday's game having taken the victory over San Jose in the last 19 meetings with the Spartans, but that streak seemed to be in jeopardy halfway into their contest in Las Vegas.

I was relieved to be tied at half, to be honest. I just did not think we played with any rhythm or fluidity in the first half, at all." — Coach Tim Duryea

The Aggies came out of the break on fire, though. Freshman guard Koby McEwen sparked a run, scoring six quick points in the first minute.

"Every time I felt right taking the shot, I just shot it and just my instincts took over. And usually when I do that, good things happen." — Koby McEwen

McEwen knocked down five 3-pointers, four of them in the second half of the game.

"Koby definitely fueled the fire for our team coming out hot. Me and Sam (Merrill) fed off that and the rest of the team. From there on out we were just playing good ball." — Jalen Moore

McEwen's scoring outburst was part of a 17-4 run that opened up a double-digit Aggie lead, punctuated by an aggressive, two-handed dunk by Jalen Moore.

The Spartans fought back within one point with just more than 10 minutes left in the second half, before the Aggies reeled off an 18-0 run to effectively end the game.

The exclamation point on the run, and the explosive second-half overall, was an eye-popping transition dunk by Jalen Mooore.

"That is a huge play in basketball, whenever you get a big dunk like that." — Jalen Moore
"After that I was like, 'I'm just taking off.' So it was a fun play, that's always fun to do." — Jalen Moore

McEwen finished with an Aggie record for points scored in a postseason game with 27 on 9 of 12 shooting, including 5 of 5 from deep. Moore had a solid game as well with 19 points, seven rebounds and four assists, with no turnovers.

Pearre scored nine points, knocking down 3 of his 4 shots from behind the arc. Freshman guard Sam Merrill continued his strong play this season with 11 points, six rebounds and eight assists, with no turnovers.

Defensively, USU locked down first-team all-conference forward Brandon Clarke, holding him to eight points on just four shot attempts.

The Aggies will face top-seeded Nevada in the next round of the tournament on Thursday at 1 p.m. MT.

Photos by Mark Bell and Matt Halton.

Credits:

Mark Bell, Matt Halton

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