Boylen hot? Or just Luke-warm?

By By Chris Kamrani

By Chris Kamrani

Jim Boylen and his Runnin’ Utes got their second taste of an in-state rivalry game, but unlike their previous win over Weber State, they made sure they wouldn’t have to claw from behind in this one.

The Utes started the game on an 11-0 run thanks to sharp shooting from guard Tyler Kepkay and forward Shaun Green and never looked back, defeating the Utah State Aggies, 72-48.

Although the atmosphere might have suggested that the game was at a neutral site on account of a large Aggie-fan contingency, the Utes were not shaken and played possibly their best game of the season.

The Aggies could not contain Utah center Luke Nevill, who towered over defenders the entire game and finished with a game-high 20 points and 14 rebounds.

Although the Utes had a double-digit lead throughout most of the game, the bench played possibly the largest role. Sophomore forward Kim Tillie was perfect from the field, shooting 7-for-7 and finishing with 16 points and six rebounds.

Utah head coach Jim Boylen was enthusiastic about the sophomore’s play.

“Kim Tillie has talent, we played him at the five-spot tonight and he responded well,” Boylen said.

More bench production came from senior captain Johnnie Bryant, who came off the bench to net eight points and three assists.

The Utes went 7-for-9 from behind the arc in the first half and finished 9-for-18.

Most importantly, the Utes were able to hold All-American candidate Jaycee Carroll in check the entire game thanks to defensive specialist Lawrence Borha. Carroll finished with 11 points on just 4-7 shooting.

Coach Boylen spoke of the extreme preparation for the dangerous Carroll throughout the previous week. Not coincidentally, the game ball was given to senior guard Chris Grant, who imitated Carroll all week throughout practices.

Although Nevill finished with game-highs in both points and rebounds, Boylen was not all too thrilled with his performance.

“I hold a high standard for Luke Nevill,” Boylen said. “I think he could’ve have 30/20, no disrespect to Utah State, but I think Luke could have played better.”

Nevill himself wasn’t too thrilled with his performance either.

“I missed open layups and open shots, and if this was a tight game, those are the things that come back,” Nevill said.

Although the Utes won handily and shot well on offense, the team was most excited about its defense.

“We executed very well on defense, stopping Jacey Carroll, (Borha) did a great job,” Tillie said.

Kepkay Green finished with three treys a piece, with the majority coming at times when the Aggies seemed to be crawling back in.

“Credit them for making shots against a quality opponent,” Boylen said.

Boylen also credited the victory to the entire team’s preparation.

“We have a system, it’s our insurance policy, it’s our crutch,” Boylen said.

Game Notes: Carroll’s lone three-pointer broke the Utah State all time three-point record previously held by Tony Brown… Attendance was 10,829… Borha and Aggie forward Tai Wesley were called for double-technical fouls in the first half when they collided, went to the floor and had some friendly words… Utah football coach Kyle Whittingham was also in attendance.

[email protected]