Utah Men’s Basketball to Take Part in Myrtle Beach Invitational

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Utah Men’s Basketball to Take Part in Myrtle Beach Invitational

University of Utah Utes Forward Timmy Allen (1) scores in an NCAA Basketball match vs. the Minnesota Gophers at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. (Photo by Abu Asib | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

University of Utah Utes Forward Timmy Allen (1) scores in an NCAA Basketball match vs. the Minnesota Gophers at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. (Photo by Abu Asib | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

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University of Utah Utes Forward Timmy Allen (1) scores in an NCAA Basketball match vs. the Minnesota Gophers at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. (Photo by Abu Asib | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

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University of Utah Utes Forward Timmy Allen (1) scores in an NCAA Basketball match vs. the Minnesota Gophers at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Friday, Nov. 15, 2019. (Photo by Abu Asib | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Brayden Ramsay

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Utah has started the 2019 season off with a bang, going 3-0 in their first three games of the season. The Utes were able to hold off Nevada in game one before beating Mississippi Valley State by 94 points in game two. Last week, the Utes welcomed Minnesota to the Huntsman Center and got off to a quick 16-0 start, before allowing the Gophers back in the game and holding them off in the final minutes to notch a 73-69 victory. The tournament is set to start on Thursday, Nov. 21 and will end on Sunday, Nov. 24.

 

Myrtle Beach Invitational Preview

Utah (3-0) will play Coastal Carolina (2-2) in the first game of the ESPN-televised invitational. The Chanticleers have lost two, one-point heartbreakers this season against the Campbell Camels and the Northern Kentucky Norse. Coastal Carolina’s had a 36-point win against Hampden-Sydney on Nov. 8. Coastal Carolina will enter the game with a young team just like Utah. The Chants only have three seniors alongside three juniors suiting up in 2019.

If the Utes win against Coastal Carolina, they will face the winner of the Baylor Bears (2-1) and the Ohio Bobcats (3-1). If Utah comes up short against the Chanticleers, they will take on the loser of Baylor and Ohio. Baylor has started the year strong with wins over Central Arkansas and Texas State. They also suffered a close loss to Pac-12 foe Washington. Last season, Baylor came to Salt Lake City and upset the Syracuse Orangemen in the first round of the March Madness Tournament. Ohio will enter the tournament after being handed their first loss at the hands of the Villanova Wildcats. The Bobcats began the year with three victories over St. Bonaventure, Heidelberg and Iona.

On the other side of the Myrtle Beach Invitational resides the Villanova Wildcats (2-1), Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders (3-1), Mississippi State Bulldogs (4-0) and the Tulane Green Wave (3-0).

 

Utah Players to Watch Out For

Timmy Allen is coming off a double double performance against the Golden Gophers, with 19 points and 10 rebounds on the stat sheet. Allen has been a key contributor for the Utes this season and is likely to be the number one go-to guy for Utah in this tournament.

Both Gach is another sophomore who is helping lead the way this season. Gach also scored 19 points against Minnesota and was key from the free throw line down the stretch. Look for Gach to score in transition and create chances for his teammates during crucial moments of the game.

Rylan Jones knocked down 10 points and dished off 6 assists in his efforts on Friday. Jones also grabbed 2 rebounds against the Gophers. If there is one word to describe Jones through the first three games of the season, it’s gritty. His determination and relentless effort are easily seen through his diving for loose balls and his creativity.

 

Two Keys for Utah This Weekend

Ball Security: Utah has had a few hiccups with ball security in two of three games this season. If they don’t give up loose balls and are able to control the pace of the game, they will be in a good position to come out on top of most games this weekend.

Offensive Rebounds: Branden Carlson has been solid in the post so far this season, but he’s going to need help from the likes of Matt Van Komen and company if they plan to not give up second chance points. Also, if the Utes are able to work the paint and capitalize on offensive rebounds throughout the Myrtle Beach Invitational, they should be within striking distance of a victory towards the end of their matchups.

 

How to Follow the Game

The first game between Utah and Coastal Carolina can be seen on ESPNU or ESPNews. Game two, with Utah taking on either Baylor or Ohio, will be televised on ESPNU or ESPN 2. And the final game of the tournament can be seen on ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPNews, or ESPNU. Each of these games can also be listened to live at ESPN 700.

 

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@brayden_ramsay