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Utah Men’s Basketball Secures Road Win Against Saint Mary’s

The Utes free throw shooting on the road was unbelievably impressive and is a sign for what is to come for Craig Smith and his team.
Utah+centers+Brandon+Carlson+%2835%29+and+Lawson+Lovering+%2834%29+exchange+a+handshake+in+the+exhibition+game+versus+Westminster+Griffins+at+Jon.+M.+Huntsman+Center+in+Salt+Lake+City+on+Nov.+1+2023.+%28Photo+by+Mary+Allen+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29
Mary Allen
Utah centers Brandon Carlson (35) and Lawson Lovering (34) exchange a handshake in the exhibition game versus Westminster Griffins at Jon. M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Nov. 1 2023. (Photo by Mary Allen | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

 

The Utah men’s basketball team (4-2) headed into the Monday night matchup against the Saint Mary’s Gaels looking to snap a two-game losing streak. Thanks to consistent shooting from the Utah guards and stellar post-defense by Lawson Lovering and Branden Carlson, Utah was able to sneak away with a much-needed 78-71 road victory.

First Half

The first half was a back-and-forth affair that saw eight different lead changes and four ties between the two teams. Carlson started the game hot, scoring six of the first ten points for the Utes on 3-3 shooting. As Saint Mary’s defense keyed in on Carlson, other Utes started to step up in order to keep up with the high-powered Gaels offense.

Gabe Madsen led Utah in scoring during the first half, putting up 10 points, all coming after the eight-minute mark of the first half. Rollie Worster chipped in seven points of his own, while Cole Bajema had nine to help pace a balanced Utah scoring attack.

Despite Utah controlling the majority of the first half, the Gaels were able to hang around with hot shooting and stellar defense against Utah’s leading scorer, Carlson.

Heading into halftime, the game was tied at 38 apiece, with a lot of the game left to be played. Coming out of the halftime locker room, the Utes needed to stifle Saint Mary’s sophomore guard, Aidan Mahaney, who scored 14 points for the Gaels, to keep the game close throughout the first half.

Second Half

Utah came out in the second half with brand new defensive energy, holding the Gaels to just eight points as a team through the first 10 minutes of half number two. Lovering’s physical defensive play in the paint was suffocating for the Saint Mary’s big men, allowing Utah to pull away slightly.

Saint Mary’s high-powered offense continued to hang around throughout the entire game but was not quite enough to match Utah’s stellar guard play and physical defensive performance.

After a Madsen three at the 4:44 mark in the second half, the Utes held a commanding 67-52 lead as time dwindled. Saint Mary’s tried its hardest to hang around with Utah but was unable to find enough of a spark to complete the comeback. Stellar free throw shooting and ball control down the stretch were the differences in this game, as Utah would eventually win 78-71.

The Utes forced Saint Mary’s into tough fouls and converted on 21 free throws in the second half alone. Utah’s ability to make free throws has been a concern so far this season, but that was not the case in this one. The Ute’s free throw shooting on the road was impressive and is a sign of what is to come for Craig Smith and his team.

Utes Stuffing the Stat Sheet

Worster ended the game with an impressive 17 points and eight rebounds to help lead the Utes in scoring and rebounding. Madsen matched Worster’s scoring output with 17 of his own, while Bajema chipped in 14 points as well. The Utah starting backcourt came up huge, combining for 48 of the team’s 78 points.

The combination of Lovering, Carlson and Keba Keita were impressive down low all day despite not stuffing the box score. Keita came up huge in the second half, keeping loose balls alive and creating chaos on the defensive end of the floor.

Next Up

Utah will take on Hawaii at the Delta Center on Thursday, Nov. 30 at 7:00 p.m. MST. The Utes look to win a couple more non-conference games before heading into the last season of Pac-12 play.

 

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@Kylegarr23

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About the Contributors
Kyle Garrison, Sports Writer
Kyle garrison grew up in Spring Lake, Michigan. He moved to Salt Lake City to pursue a degree in communications with an emphasis in journalism. Kyle plans on pursuing broadcast journalism as a career once graduating from the University of Utah. Kyle started with the Chronicle this fall and has loved every minute of working with the team.
Mary Allen, Design Director
(she/her) Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Mary is thrilled to be here at the University of Utah studying graphic design. She feels very lucky to get to rub shoulders with the talented people that make up the team here at the Chronicle and is learning a lot from them every day. Other than making things look cute, Mary’s passions include music, pickleball, Diet Coke, wildlife protection, and the Boston Red Sox.

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