U Men’s Hoops Get First MWC Road Victory

By , , , and

With perhaps its biggest road trip of the season going on this weekend, the Utah men’s basketball team had much to prove: that it could win an MWC road game, and that it is a legitimate contender for the conference crown, chief among them.

The Utes passed the first half of the test on Saturday night with a convincing 76-63 victory at San Diego State. Now, they will conclude it tonight with a 10 p.m. ESPN2 contest in Las Vegas against the Runnin’ Rebels.

For the moment, Utah stands at 14-9 overall and?more importantly?at 6-3 in the MWC, just one game back of conference leader Wyoming.

The Utes got there by easily outpacing an SDSU team that has found nothing but trouble since the conference schedule began. After going 10-3 in non-MWC games, the Aztecs have gone just 1-7 in conference contests and find themselves mired in last place in the league.

The resurgent Kevin Bradley again led the way, coming off the bench to score a game-high 18 points on 5-of-11 shooting, while also dishing out a game-high 6 assists.

Britton Johnsen added 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting while also contributing 7 rebounds and 5 assists. Phil Cullen had 13 points and 6 rebounds off the bench, while starting point guard Travis Spivey notched 10 points.

It was a solid all-around team performance, as the Utes shot 55 percent for the game while holding San Diego State to 41 shooting from the field.

After taking a 37-30 halftime lead, the Utes opened the second half on a 13-4 run, opening up a 50 34 point advantage the Aztecs could not recover from.

Meanwhile, the Utes will conclude the two-game road set tonight against UNLV. The Rebels come into the game 14-9 overall and a half-game behind the Utes in the conference standings, with a 5 3 MWC mark.

After winning the teams’ first matchup of the season?a 79-70 decision at the Huntsman Center back on Jan. 13?a win for the Utes in Las Vegas tonight could make the MWC a two-team race between themselves and Wyoming.

The Rebels are led by All Conference center Kaspars Kambala, who is second in the league in both scoring (16.6 points per game) and rebounding (9.5 rpg).