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Jeff Hunter, Deseret News

Moore, Aggies put on shooting clinic, rout Air Force on Senior Night

By Kyle McDonald, KSL.com Contributor | Posted - Feb. 25, 2017 at 10:53 p.m.



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LOGAN — For the final time in his collegiate career, Jalen Moore stepped onto the floor at the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. The senior from North Logan didn't disappoint or let the emotion of the game get to him.

Moore scored a game-high 24 points on 8-of-12 shooting, hit five 3-pointers and helped USU rout Air Force 89-58 on Senior Night in Logan.

Fellow seniors Shane Rector and Connor Garner had big nights as well. Rector finished with just six points, four of which came on highlight-reel driving layups. Garner hit three 3-pointers to finish with a career-high nine points.

"It's a great way to end my career and their careers," Moore said. "It just felt great to go out on a win like that. We're winning right now so that's always better. We're feeling good right now. We're playing well."

USU improved to 13-15 overall, 7-10 in the Mountain West Conference. Air Force dropped to 11-18 overall, 4-12 in the MWC.

"Obviously, as far as Senior Night's go, that was unexpected," USU head coach Tim Duryea said. "And yet, probably couldn't draw much better than that. Thrilled for Jalen. I thought he played tremendously well, which we're kind of getting used to. Then Shane had a great night as well.

"Could not be happier for Connor Garner. Just so happy for him. Good things happen to good people, and they don't come much better than Connor."

The Aggies got it going quick, jumping out to a 6-0 lead and never really looked back. Moore scored 13 of his 24 points in the first half. USU shot 61 percent from the field and was 7 of 12 from downtown to take a 46-26 lead into the halftime break.

Air Force scored the first basket of the second half, but USU went on a little 7-0 run featuring a Rector driving layup, a 3-pointer by Sam Merrill and a dunk off a Merrill steal by Alex Dargenton that put the game away.

"That was my worry at halftime," Duryea said. "When you get the big lead early, you always worry about it at the first media timeout, where is the momentum of the game. Those two possessions right there, I figured from that point on we were going to be OK."

The Aggie defense never allowed Air Force to get back in the game. The Falcons got as close as 27 points twice in the second half, but the night belonged to Moore and the Aggies.

USU shot 60 percent from the field and 52 percent from beyond the arc. The Aggies had 27 assists on 34 made baskets and also outrebounded Air Force, 33-27.

Merrill and Quinn Taylor were the other Aggies in double figures with 12 and 13 points, respectively.

Hayden Graham finished with a team-high 21 points for Air Force and was joined in double figures by Lavelle Scottie, who finished with 10 points.

Garner hit two of the six 3-pointers the Aggies hit in the second half, and USU gave Garner, Rector and Moore a standing ovation as they walked off the court in the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum for the last time.

"I just wanted to go out with a bang, and that's what we did," Moore said.

USU is on the road at UNLV Wednesday night. The Aggies knocked off the Rebels 79-63 Jan. 7 in Logan. With a win to close out the regular season, USU has the potential to be the No. 7-seed at the MWC Tournament that starts March 8 in Las Vegas.


Kyle McDonald is sports fan who loves the Chicago Cubs. He is a communication major at UVU and will graduate in the spring of 2017. Follow him on Twitter at @kylesportsbias

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