Logan • Thousands of Aggie fans were crowing with the clock running out Friday night as the lead swelled to nearly 40 points.
It was their first glimpse of a basketball team that already has a buzz. And by first look, the buzz seems deserved.
"The atmosphere is great as everyone knows, so all of that work over the summer, all of the weights, all of the pick-up games was for this," said Preston Medlin, who scored 16 points in only 23 minutes. "It's for our team and for our fans."
The first night of basketball in Logan couldn't have gone much better for the Aggies, who glided to a 76-44 win over Grand Canyon (Ariz.). But victory wasn't what drove more than 8,000 fans wild in only an exhibition it was the ease with which a team with many new faces was still able to dominate.
It took more than five minutes for the Antelopes to score a point on Utah State. It took Medlin only a half to score 13. Rebounds were bouncing everywhere but Grand Canyon's hands. And the free-throw line was the Aggies' best friend.
In every facet of the game, Utah State looked like a team that has serious potential.
"We played hard, that was the most positive thing," coach Stew Morrill said.
It was good defense to the point of suffocation. Grand Canyon shot only 28.8 percent from the field in the game, and Utah State outscored the Antelopes 26-4 during a 13-minute stretch that made the contest a laugher.
After pressing initially, some of the newcomers showed they could make an impact this year. Center Jarred Shaw made the biggest splash, scoring 15 points and pulling down eight boards. His length made him an impossible matchup in the post, so the Antelopes just started fouling him.
The junior Oklahoma State transfer responded by shooting 7-for-8 from the free-throw line.
"I feel like I missed a few shots at the beginning, but basketball, you can't get down, you gotta keep going," Shaw said. "I kept going and found my stroke."
Point guard TeNale Roland got the start and played confidently, adding eight points and six rebounds, while forward Kyisean Reed didn't start but still grabbed six rebounds and a whopping seven steals.
The Aggies struggled shooting the ball in the first half, going only 11-for-29 from the field. But a surge after the intermission spurred on Utah State's lead, as some of the guards started burying longer-range chances.
Every available team member played minutes.
• Preston Medlin scores 16 on 4-for-7 shooting, adds 3 assists.
• Jarred Shaw scores 15, gets 8 rebounds in first game as an Aggie.
•Â Utah State's defense holds Grand Canyon to only 28.8 percent shooting.