Utes hope to reverse skid with win over Idaho

By Joseph Simmons , Staff Writer

After a tough loss to in-state rival Weber State, the Runnin’ Utes are hoping to bounce back at home against the Idaho State Bengals Saturday night.

The Utes (3-4) were upset last year by Idaho State 72-68 in Pocatello, Idaho, and Boylen said that his team will have to match the Bengals’ physical play to avoid another upset.

“Last year, I thought they played more physical than we did,” Boylen said. “We have to be ready for a physical game.”

After their loss to the Wildcats, the Utes are on a two-game skid, and a win against Idaho State would give them some much-needed momentum before facing Michigan and Oklahoma next week.

Idaho State (2-5) will come to Salt Lake City at the end of a four-game road trip, in which they have gone 1-2. Most recently, the Bengals fell 80-70 in South Bend, Ind., against Notre Dame.

The Bengals have struggled in the early season with some shooting woes and are making 44 percent of their field goals as a team on the season. Until the past two games, the team shot just 27 percent from three-point range, but is now up to 32.5 percent.

Idaho State is led by head coach Joe O’Brien, who is in his fourth year at Idaho State with an overall record of 40-60.

Senior guard Amorrow Morgan was a Big Sky All-Conference First Team selection last season, and leads the Bengals in scoring so far this season, averaging 16.1 points per game. Morgan is complemented by fellow guard Broderick Gilchrest, who is averaging 12.1 points and 3.1 assists per game.

Junior forward Demetrius Monroe8212;who went for 18 points against Notre Dame and national player-of-the-year candidate Luke Harangody8212;is averaging 10.4 points and 8.3 rebounds for the season. Together, he and Morgan make a powerful scoring combination.

“Monroe and Morgan are good, tough players,” Boylen said. “Morgan is a driver who can score the ball and a competitive guy.”

Junior guard Carlon Brown and senior Kim Tillie both played well offensively against Weber State, with Tillie recording his first career double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Brown has been the motor to the Ute offense on the season and is averaging 13.6 points per game.

The Utes are 2-2 at the Huntsman Center this season, and Boylen has consistently said how important it is for his team to protect its home floor. Although they beat in-state rival Utah State and Southern University at home, the Utes had disappointing losses against Seattle University and the University of Idaho.

The Utes and the Bengals have met 20 times previously, with Utah leading the series overall at 17-3. The Bengals’ victory over Utah last season was their first in 50 years.

Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. The game will not be televised, but will be broadcast on KALL 700 AM.

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