Utes Win Sunshine Slam and Stay Undefeated

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Jack Gambassi

(Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ethan Pearce, Assistant Sports Editor

 

The University of Utah men’s basketball team won the Sunshine Slam in Daytona Beach, Florida over the weekend. Utah was 3-0 in the event, including back-to-back wins on Saturday and Sunday, and a win at home on Monday against Bethune-Cookman. Utah is now 5-0 on the season heading into a rivalry matchup with BYU at home.

Against Boston College

In the first game of the weekend, the Utes were victorious over Boston College. The final score was 68-61. Branden Carlson and David Jenkins Jr. led the way with 13 points each, followed by Marco Anthony and Lazar Stefanovic with nine each. Stefanovic scored his nine in just 13 minutes, shooting 4-5.

Head coach Craig Smith leaned heavily on his starters, using mainly three players off the bench, with two more getting in for just two minutes each. Smith is beginning to figure out his rotations and best lineup combinations, something that he was experimenting with in the early part of the season. Gabe Madsen has not played recently with a non-COVID respiratory illness, and his return may shake things up, but for now, Smith has found a pattern he likes.

Utah’s victory on Saturday was close at points, but they managed to execute down the stretch to grab the win. Boston College had it down to a two-point game with about four and a half minutes left, but Utah had a couple of clutch buckets from Carlson and Rollie Worster, along with some good defense and free throw shooting to close it out. 

Against Tulsa

Because of the win, Utah advanced to the championship game against Tulsa. It was another game that was close for most of the night, but the Utes played well to close the game, finishing with a 72-58 victory. 

The Utes had five players in double figures scoring-wise, Carlson leading the way with 13 rebounds and 15 points. Only four players saw action off the bench. 

Up Next

Utah has not lost a game this season. Sure, the opposition hasn’t been the greatest, but these wins still count for something. It’s impressive for a team that was put together on the fly with a first-year head coach to win their first five games, and that’s exactly what this Utah team has done. You can’t ask for much more. 

BYU is a good team, and they just demolished No. 12 Oregon, 81-49. It will be another chapter in a storied rivalry when the Cougars visit the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Saturday, Nov. 27.

 

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