Bogut-led Utes crush Lobos

The big man on campus keeps getting better.

Andrew Bogut scored 24 points and hauled in a career-high 20 rebounds Saturday afternoon in the Huntsman Center as the U defeated conference foe New Mexico 69-58.

Bogut scored 18 of the Utes’ first 19 points and dominated the post on both ends of the floor. The Utes (15-3, 4-0 MWC) cruised to an 11th straight win and remained undefeated in conference play. Bogut became only the fourth player in the nation to have at least 20 points and 20 rebounds in a single contest this season.

The Lobos (14-4, 1-2) suffered their second consecutive loss without forward Danny Granger, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder. Granger went down with a knee injury in the Lobos’ conference opener against Wyoming and was listed as questionable before the game against the U. He suited up for the game and shot with the team during warm-ups, but never took the floor during the game.

Granger’s absence made it relatively easy for Bogut to dominate the boards and regulate the momentum of the game.

“It was pretty easy to score in the first half,” Bogut said. “My teammates got me the ball when I was open. I got in position and used it.”

Without Granger the Lobos were left with center David Chiotti to compete with Bogut in the low post. But Chiotti, a 6-foot-9-inch junior, was in way over his head against the Utes’ sophomore 7-footer. Bogut limited Chiotti to three-of- 10 from the field and only two rebounds.

“He continues to amaze us all,” said U head coach Ray Giacoletti of the Aussie phenom. “He did a good job in every aspect of the game. He did a good job of staying composed, going straight up, and making Chiotti shoot over the top of him.”

New Mexico head coach Ritchie McKay said Bogut’s great performance came down to the Lobos’ inability to get the little things done.

“We didn’t execute like we should have,” said New Mexico head coach Ritchie McKay. “We didn’t hit our free throws and we didn’t do a good job on the help side with Bogut. We didn’t put enough pressure on Bogut and as a result he had a great offensive game.”

The Utes looked like they were going to run away with this one on several occasions, but the feisty Lobos wouldn’t let things get out of hand. The Utes led by as many as 14 in the second half, but Lobo sharpshooter Troy Devries kept hitting clutch three-pointers to keep the Lobos in the game. Devries ended with 19 points including four second-half three-pointers.

A 10-4 Lobo run late in the second half closed the margin to eight, but that was as close as they would get.The Utes’ Richard Chaney looked good in his first game back from injury. Though Bryant Markson still started in his place, Chaney managed to score seven points in limited action. Markson continued to look good as Chaney’s replacement, finishing with 14 points. Tim Drisdom, the Utes’ junior guard, was a key part of the victory. He only scored two points, but his eight assists made a big difference in the game. Giacoletti said Drisdom’s willingness to communicate with the other players during the game makes him an invaluable part of the U team.

The U will now turn its attention to the other undefeated team in the MWC: the Air Force Falcons (12-6, 3-0). Air Force is coming off a three point win against BYU on Saturday that kept its conference record unblemished. The Utes face off against the Falcons Monday night at 7 p.m. in the Huntsman Center.

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