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Logan • All along, Utah State basketball coach Tim Duryea said he would not be looking at the scoreboard during the Aggies' two exhibition games.
On Friday night at the Spectrum, Utah State played its second exhibition against Division II Cal State-Monterey. The Otters won going away, 77-60.
Given the expectations for the coming season and Utah State's easy 87-48 win over Panhandle (Okla.) State in its exhibition opener, the loss to Cal State-Monterey Bay was shocking.
It was the Aggies' first defeat in an exhibition game since 2007. Utah State committed 19 turnovers and missed 27 of 34 shots in the first half.
"Hats off to Monterey Bay," Duryea said. "I thought their guys were enthusiastic, passionate, well-coached and really did a great job executing their game plan. They played well [and] played hard. They out-played us at every position. … They out-played us as far as passion and enthusiasm and did a tremendous job. They out-coached us, outplayed us, out-everything-ed us. It's one of those things where it's a good lesson learned. It's an unexpected lesson when you have a lot of experience returning but, on the other hand, we got exposed and found the problems we need to solve. That's what next week will be all about."
Utah State opens its regular season Friday night at Weber State.
Against Cal State-Monterey Bay, the Aggies trailed at halftime, 39-26. They got as close as 50-42 with 12:19 remaining and it was still 65-58 when the Otters used a 12-2 run to pull away again.
David Collette scored 22 points for Utah State. Chris Smith added 10. The Aggies shot only 4-for-22 from the 3-point line.
"We have a lot of things to work on," Collette said. "I guess if anything, it's a good thing it happened now because it gives us a lot to work on. It was a good wake-up call. You better believe we'll come back, starting Monday with practice. We'll turn things around and we'll be ready.
"I think a lot of it was that we weren't mentally prepared. Last year, we were ranked second-to-last in the Mountain West going into the season. We had something to prove. I think it got into our heads being picked third this year … We have to play with a chip on our shoulder, like we did last year, and turn things around."
Said Cal State-Monterey Bay coach Ron Bishop: "We just made plays. Utah State is a good basketball team, but we battled with them and everyone stepped up and contributed. I'm proud of our guys because every time Utah State scored in the second half, we matched it. … Being resilient and believing in ourselves was the key to this victory."