Players step up in exhibition win

By Bubba Brown , Staff Writer

Throughout the preseason, head coach Jim Boylen stressed the importance of replacing the production and leadership of last year’s seniors.

So far, so good for the Utes. Although the game was simply an exhibition against a Division II team, several players who figure to be crucial to Utah’s success had solid performances.

In Utah’s 83-70 exhibition win over Findlay, two players had impressive showings. Senior forward Kim Tillie produced his first career double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Junior guard Carlon Brown chipped in with 17 points, five rebounds and four assists.

Boylen said that Tillie has worked hard to put himself in a position to be a leader on the team.

“He’s developed,” Boylen said. “He’s done what a senior should.”

Brown has also worked hard to become more of a shooting threat, according to Boylen.

“He’s great with the ball in his hands,” Boylen said. “He has improved his shooting.”

After the game, Tillie said he is transitioning well into his bigger offensive role.

“It felt good,” Tillie said. “I had a lot of layups, high percentage plays. I worked on my shot in the summer. I’m feeling comfortable with the offense.”

In addition to scoring, Tillie understands his responsibility to rebound. His 12 rebounds were seven more than what he averaged last season.

“Rebounding is my job,” Tillie said. “If someone misses a shot, I’m trying to get all the rebounds.”

Brown found himself playing point guard several times throughout the game, something that is new to the junior, although he said it didn’t affect him.

“I didn’t even really notice it,” he said in regards to playing point guard. Instead, he said, he was just focusing on playing his game.

“I was trying to set the tempo and be aggressive on offense,” he said.

The biggest hole the Utes are looking to replace is that of Mountain West Conference Player of the Year Luke Nevill.

On Saturday, the Utes got solid production from the center duo of redshirt freshman Jason Washburn and sophomore David Foster, which will bear most of the burden of replacing Nevill. The centers combined for 16 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks.

Sophomores Jace Tavita and Jordan Cyphers also had an impact, something Boylen says he has been waiting for.

“I’ve been on them to play better and I thought today they made strides towards helping us win,” Boylen said. “Tavita was solid and Cyphers was instant offense with length, and he played very hard. I’ve been waiting for those two guys to step into that next role from last year when they were support guys and become contributors.”

Another player who stood out was Marshall Henderson. The freshman guard had nine points8212;all on threes8212;in 23 minutes of play.

Boylen seemed impressed with the young guard.

“He’s got a chance to be a heck of a player,” Boylen said. “When he shoots the ball, you feel good.”

Henderson said his first collegiate game was much faster-paced and physical than high school, but he hopes to adjust quickly.

“I still have a lot of adjustments to make,” Henderson said. “Hopefully I’ll get there sooner rather than later.”

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