Utah’s size no match for Southwest’s speed

By Paige Fieldsted, Staff Writer

The Utah men’s basketball team is known for its size, with the average player being 6-feet-6-inches, but against Southwest Baptist on Saturday, its size became a disadvantage, as the Bearcats used their speed to beat the Utes on their own floor.

Southwest played small ball almost the entire game, as they had three or four guards on the court at all times.

“They used their speed and quickness to slow us down,” said head coach Jim Boylen. “The small ball hurt us.”

The Bearcats used their small lineup to their advantage and put a full-court press on the Utes the whole game.

The press was effective in stopping Utah’s offense, as it was held to just six fast-break points and was forced to get most of its points in the paint.

“A lot of it was us not executing the way we should,” said Shaun Green. “We practice against a press every day and know how to break it but just didn’t do it. We’ll go back to practice and try to get better at it.”

While the press wasn’t as effective at slowing down Utah’s go-to man, center Luke Nevill, it did interrupt the entire flow of the offense.

“(The press) really affected us and slowed us down a lot,” Boylen said. “We try to win with Luke a lot, but they went small with four guards and used their speed and quickness to make more plays then us.”

Utah had an opportunity to score in the last 15 seconds and steal the win, but didn’t have the time-out needed to set up an effective play.

“I had to burn two time-outs in the first half and didn’t have one left when we really needed it,” Boylen said.

In addition to hurting the Utes’ offense, Southwest’s small ball technique also disrupted Utah’s defense, which usually relies on its big men to make plays on the inside.

“It’s tough for us to guard a small lineup everyone is switching but me, and it throws us off a little,” said Nevill. “That hesitation let them knock down shots.”

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