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LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 09: Sam Merrill #3 of the Utah State Aggies brings the ball up court against the New Mexico Lobos during a semifinal game of the Mountain West Conference basketball tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)
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Aggies Win Opener Over Montana State, 101-71

LAS VEGAS, NV - MARCH 09: Sam Merrill #3 of the Utah State Aggies brings the ball up court against the New Mexico Lobos during a semifinal game of the Mountain West Conference basketball tournament at the Thomas & Mack Center on March 9, 2018 in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by David Becker/Getty Images)

BOZEMAN, Mont. – With a 101-71 win at Montana State, the Craig Smith era at Utah State is off and running.

“This was a great team win,” said Smith. “We played everybody in the first half and in the second half, everybody scored in the second half. I loved our fight and our togetherness. We really competed on both ends”

It was a consistent effort from the Aggies that got them their 23rd season opening win in the last 25 years. They score 50 points in the first half and 51 in the second to get the win over the Bobcats. It was the first time that the Aggies passed the century mark in scoring since 2012.

Sam Merrill had a strong outing with a career-high 37 points on 12-of-18 with five 3-pointers made. Dwayne Brown Jr. also turned a solid performance with 15 points off the bench.

The Aggies had a great night shooting the ball, especially when taking advantage of free throws. From the charity stripe, Utah State converted 23-of-26 attempts.

Utah State also completely dominated the glass, grabbing 51 rebounds to just 25 by Montana State. Redshirt freshman Justin Bean was the leading rebounder with eight rebounds.

Utah State will next play host to the University of Hartford as part of the MGM Resorts Main Event. The game will tip off Friday at 7 p.m.