LOGAN – As Tim Duryea made his way to the press conference following Utah State’s 87-48 win against Oklahoma Panhandle State Saturday night, a passerby in the hall nearby congratulated the new head coach on the win.
“Thanks pal,” Duryea responded, “It doesn’t go on the resume.”
He was right. It was just an exhibition game and doesn’t count toward the team’s record, but either way Halloween night was a historic one for the Utah State basketball program. It was the first time since 1998 that it wasn’t Stew Morrill courtside in the Spectrum coaching the Aggies, Duryea’s era has begun.
“No matter how long it is for, I’ll always be honored to be the head coach here, deep love for this university,” Duryea said. “It was a proud moment for me and one that I’ll probably always look back on and say, ‘That first game, even though it was an exhibition game, Panhandle State, that’s a school I will always remember, just because they were first.’”
Duryea said he made it a point to get as many guys as much playing time as possible, both newcomers and veterans. All 12 who played scored at least one point and all got at least nine minutes of playing time.
“We try not to short-change anybody in exhibition games regardless of the score and get as many kids minutes as we can,” he said. “We’ll do our most thorough evaluation this weekend of the film and Monday they’ll learn a lot about themselves.”
Junior wing Jalen Moore led the Aggies with 19 points, 7 rebounds and 3 blocks. Sophomore forward David Collette added another 14 points. Newcomer Taylor Quinn and Elston Jones had 9 rebounds each.
“We have a lot of depth this year,” Jones said. “Quite honestly, our whole team could probably play.”
Collette scored 8 points in the first five minutes to help Utah State jump out to a quick 10-4 lead. Aided by 6 points from Moore over the next five minutes, the lead consistently to give USU a 24-11 advantage 10 minutes in. By the 6:11 first-half mark Duryea’s team had a 20-point lead. The mood of the entire half was summed up in the last 52 seconds when newcomer Quinn Taylor scored on a two-handed slam over a Panhandle State player while drawing the foul. The next time down the court senior guard Chris Smith was fouled while putting in a layup. He made the and-1 to send the hometown Aggies into halftime with a 47-21 lead.
Things didn’t get better for Panhandle State in the second half. USU continued to increase its lead while rotating and mixing the experienced players with the new guys. The biggest lead was a 41-pointer that came with 6:00 left and again in the final 20 seconds.
Shane Rector, Alexis Dargenton and Lew Evans didn’t dress for the game. Duryea said Rector was suspended for violation of team rules, Evans is nursing an injury and Dargenton is working on his eligibility. Duryea said both Evans and Rector should play next week.
The Aggies will host Cal State Monterey Bay in another exhibition game November 6.