Runnin’ Utes send Jackson, Bogut out with 72-60 win on Senior Day

Once again, the No. 16Utes (25-4, 13-1 MWC)played down to their competition.But as usual, they managedto pull out the victory,knocking off San DiegoState (10-17, 4-10) 72-60Saturday afternoon in theHuntsman Center.The MWC-championUtes overcame a sloppyfi rst half to send Marc Jacksonand Andrew Bogut outwinners in Jackson’s fi nalhome game, and most likeyBogut’s.The Utes honored theduo in a ceremony beforethe game, with both players’joined at mid-court byfamily members.”It’s kind of surreal,” Jacksonsaid after his fi nal SaltLake City appearance. “I’mglad I had the opportunityto come back. It couldn’thave been a better season.”Jackson fi nished with 10points and seven assists,connecting on some timelythree-pointers to keep theAztecs at bay.Playing in front of his father,Michael, for the fi rsttime as a collegian, Boguthad another big game,notching 20 points and 15rebounds, to go with fourassists and three blockedshots.U forward Justin Hawkinslauded the two departing players’effect on the team.”I’ve learned a lot from[Jackson and Bogut] this year,”Hawkins said. “You have to gohard all the time because theyboth do.”For the second straightgame, Hawkins definitelywent hard, chipping in with 18points and eight rebounds oneight-of-10 shooting.Coupled with his 21-pointperformance last week againstBYU, Ute coach Ray Giacolettiis pleased with the sophomore’sprogress.”Hawkins is a guy who hasstepped his game up the lastfew weeks and has reallymade a difference for us,” Giacolettisaid. “I think he reallyfeels comfortable now, shootingthe basketball and puttingit on the floor. He’s really intoa rhythm.”The Utes looked like theyhad a nice rhythm going inthe first half, jumping out toa quick 10-3 lead. But as hasbeen the first-half tradition inthe past few games, the Utesgot sloppy, allowing the Aztecsto go on a 10-0 run, andkeep the game close throughoutthe half.The Utes committed 13 turnoversin the first period, oftentrying too hard to get Bogutthe ball. The Aztecs turnedthe Ute mistakes into 10 stealsand trailed by only two at thehalf.Sticking to the script, the Ucame out much more focusedafter the break, and while theAztec’s Brandon Heath did hisbest to keep SDSU in the game,the Utes managed to pull awayfor the 12-point win.Heath finished with a gamehigh23 points, going 5-of-6from three-point range.The Utes now head to Denverfor the MWC tournament.They draw last-place ColoradoState in the first round,playing the Rams at noon onThursday. The Utes have virtuallysecured a spot in theNCAA tournament, but Giacolettistill stresses winningthe conference tourney.”The biggest question weneed to ask ourselves rightnow is how hungry we aregoing into [the tournament],”Giacoletti said. “It’s differentthis year [than last season],but we still need to find thatsame mindset.”If the Utes can get past theRams, they will play the winnerof the Wyoming- UNLVtilt on Friday. The championshipgame will be Saturday at8 p.m. and televised on [email protected]