Runnin’ Utes look to overcome NIT loss

Last week’s 83-77 loss to Washington in the NIT Season Tip-off means that the Runnin’ Utes’ Thanksgiving schedule got a whole lot lighter. That can only be bad for the Santa Clara Broncos.

With New York City and the National Invitation Tournament Season Tip-off Championship out of the picture, the Utes had nothing to look ahead to, even if they wanted to. But last year’s meeting between the two teams should be more than enough to hold the Utes’ attention. So will 6-foot-10, 305-lb. center John Bryant.

Although Bryant had just six points in last year’s meeting — a game in which Santa Clara won 83-72 — the Broncos’ junior center will likely keep the Utes’ front court as busy as Washington’s Jon Brockman did last Wednesday night.

Brockman — listed at 6-foot-7 and 255 lbs. — scored 31 points and 18 rebounds and was a big factor in the foul outs of Luke Nevill and Kim Tillie.

However, it was not Washington’s big man that cost the Utes the game. Instead, it was something Boylen predicted would bite his team if it wasn’t careful.

Turnovers played a big part in Utah’s early exit from the NIT Season Tip-Off. Utah lost seven games last year by six points or fewer. With the way Utah can shoot from beyond the 3-point line, that’s a difference of two possessions. In that case, one or two turnovers can be the difference between winning and losing.

It will likely have a lot to do with how the Utes overcome their first setback of the season tonight.

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Lennie Mahler

Carlon Brown drives to the hoop in the Utes’ win against USC Upstate. The Utes face Santa Clara tonight at the Huntsman Center.