Utah Men’s Basketball Kicks Season Off Against UT Tyler


The University of Utah is introduced before an NCAA Basketball game vs. The University of Washington at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Thursday, Jan. 10, 2019. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Brayden Ramsay, Sports Writer

The University of Utah Men’s Basketball team will begin their season at home against the Patriots of UT Tyler. Utah is coming off of a 17-14 (11-7) season, narrowly missing out on a NIT Tournament bid in 2018.

Fresh faces will grace the floor this season for the Utes, as Utah only returns six players from last year’s squad. The 2019-2020 Runnin’ Utes could play a long time together, as only two players are of the junior and senior class.


Utah’s Previous Matchup

Fans were able to catch a glimpse of the upcoming talent at the annual Night with the Utes on Oct. 15. Although there were definite signs of youth and inconsistent play, the Runnin’ Utes were able to show that there is a lot of good potential on this year’s team.


Utah Players to Watch For

Two newcomers that should be on all Utah fans’ watch lists are Rylan Jones and Matt Van Komen.

Jones is a freshman from Olympus High School and will play at the point guard position. Jones was named Utah’s Mr. Basketball as well as Gatorade Player of the Year during his senior year of high school, and should create a lot of chances to score for the Runnin’ Utes in his freshman year.

Van Komen is another Utah native who stands 7’4″. He was ranked in the top twenty centers in the nation coming out of Pleasant Grove High School in 2018. Van Komen showed his blocking ability during Night with the Utes while also showcasing his free throw ability from the line.

Of Utah’s returning starters, keep your eyes on sophomores Both Gach, Timmy Allen and Riley Battin. These three led the way for the Utes their freshman season and are looking to continue their dominance heading into year two. Allen was named as a pre-season second team all-conference player by the Pac 12, while Battin and Gach are looking to make their case to be added to the all-conference list during their second go-around.


UT Tyler Players to Watch

Darius Alford will be the player that carries the torch for the Patriots on Wednesday afternoon. Last season, Alford led UT Tyler in scoring during his freshman season, averaging just over 18 points per game. He is a pest defensively, chalking up 51 steals for the Patriots last year. Alford was named the ASC East Division Tri-Freshman of the year while also picking up an ASC East division all-freshman team nod, and finishing the year on the ASC All-East Division second team.

Ty Bennett will be the other UT-Tyler Patriot to watch out for, as he averaged just over 11 points a game, while also notching 5 rebounds and 3 assists per night in 2018.



This will be the first ever matchup between the University of Texas-Tyler and the Utah Utes.


What’s Next for Both Teams

The Utah Runnin’ Utes will travel to Reno, Nevada to take on the Nevada Wolfpack on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019.

The UT-Tyler Patriots will travel 45 minutes south to take on the Brigham Young Cougars on Friday, Nov. 1, 2019.


Where to Watch the Game

The matchup between the Runnin’ Utes and the Patriots will be played at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. The Game will tip-off at 6:30 p.m. and will be available via Pac12 Networks and through radio broadcast on ESPN 700.


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