Aggies surge past Mississippi Valley State for home win

LOGAN – A dominant second half propelled Utah State to 83-47 victory over Mississippi Valley State Wednesday night. The Aggies took a five-point lead into halftime, but outscored the visiting Delta Devils 50-19 in the final 20 minutes.

Four different Aggies scored in double figures. Junior forward DeAngelo Isby led all with 17 points, sophomore guard Koby McEwen scored 11, Sam Merrill scored 10 and redshirt freshman Daron Henson added 12 points and six rebounds, both career highs.

“It feels really good,” Henson said. “In the first two games I didn’t score, I don’t think I got many rebounds, but the coaches and my teammates just told me to stay confident…I got in the game and got rebounds and it opened up the 3-point line for me.”

MVSU outscored and outrebounded the Aggies through most of the first half allowing the Delta Devils to gain a 24-15 advantage with 6:30 left before the break. Head coach Tim Duryea described his team’s early performance as “poor.”

“It was a slow start, but lesson learned” he said. “We came out flat. I thought we were flat in shootaround today and even told the staff before the game I thought we were flat.”

When the Aggie momentum finally came, it started with McEwen, who pulled up to the top of the key and unhesitatingly hit the 3-point jumper to pick up his first points of the game. Sophomore guard Diogo Brito got a 3-pointer of his own not long after, Isby added seven points in the stretch and Abel Porter got himself a steal and a fast break layup. Merrill closed out the half with an and-1 three-point play. It was all part of an 18-4 run to finish the half.

“We were guarding really well, we were moving the ball really well,” Merrill said. “We were starting to hit some shots and we were finishing.”

USU’s momentum lasted well into the second half. McEwen and Isby made two 3-pointers a piece in the first three minutes after the break. MVSU didn’t get a second-half point until the 14:23 mark, when USU had already scored 17.

Duryea said he told his players during a timeout how impressed he was with the way they were playing.

“I thought everybody out there was trying to make a play for their teammate,” Duryea said. “The ball was popping, the ball was moving and guys were getting open shots and creating open shots for each other.”

The Aggies led by as many as 40 points before the game finished. The team will now go on a 12-day, five-game road trip that starts Saturday at Gonzaga.

“There are five opportunities to win on the road,” Merrill said. “So its exciting.”

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