Big man back on campus?

By By Chris Kamrani

By Chris Kamrani

Updated at 1:05 a.m., Feb. 24, 2007

Over a span of about five minutes in the second half of the Runnin’ Utes recent loss to New Mexico, Ute fans got a peek at what their star center is capable of when he plays near the fullest of his ability.

Nevill, who was saddled with two fouls early and forced to ride the pine for the majority of the first half, put his foot on the gas pedal midway through the latter half and dominated around the hoop. Over the five-minute stretch, the Aussie scored nine points and energized the Ute faithful with three dunks.

“Once I got the ball in the post, I realized if I was being played one-on-one, I would just go to work every single time,” Nevill said.

Nevill attempted only one field goal in the first half and played a sparing eight minutes.

During a timeout midway through the second half, Utah head coach Jim Boylen took his star center aside and gave him a pep talk of sorts. Needless to say, the junior responded. Nevill and backup combo guard Luka Drca hooked up for four straight baskets including a backside alley-oop lob, which gave the Utes with a 56-52 lead.

When asked what was said during the timeout, Boylen promptly said, “That’s not for public consumption.”

The Utes used the revitalized play of their star center to their advantage and ran a plethora of offensive sets through Nevill.

“If I don’t get the ball in the post, I can kick it out and we can make plays,” Nevill said. “I would’ve liked to go inside more, but we just go to whoever is shooting the ball well and in that stretch, I was.”

Nevill took advantage of that, finishing with 11 second-half points and four rebounds.

With the crowd feeding off Nevill during his barrage of baskets, he seemed to be ready take control of the game completely. But before he could do that, Nevill was whistled for a questionable foul while trying to block a shot attempt of New Mexico’s J.R. Giddens.

Once Nevill was back on the bench, the Lobos went to work with an onslaught of 3-point shooting.

The Aussie’s foul trouble proved to be the Utes’ undoing against New Mexico, but for Utah fans, the glimpse of greatness they saw from Nevill during that five-minute is a promising sign.

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Luke Nevill

Luke Nevill’s minutes were limited due to foul trouble, but managed 11 second-half point due to a resurgent effort and a pep-talk from head coach Jim Boylen.