Utes defeat Gonzaga

Maybe this will be the win that kickstarts the Boylen era. 

There seems to be a moment in a coaching career that acts as a jumping off point. Where the success of a program can be traced back to a set of games. For Jim Boylen and his Utes, that hadn't happened. Will this game prove to be that moment? Only time will tell, but it does offer something Utah can build on and that just may be the most important aspect of the Utes' victory over 16th ranked Gonzaga.

Entering Wednesday's game, Utah had played fairly erratic over the first month and a half of the season. Victories over Missouri State, Oregon and Ole Miss were spoiled by losses to Southwest Baptist and Idaho State. A last second defeat, on the road against a decent Utah State team, gave way to a closer than it should have been win over UC Irvine. Yet none of that mattered when Utah took the court last night and with their win, they made it known that maybe, just maybe, this program is slowly turning it around. 

Sure, Gonzaga doesn't look like near the beast they did a few weeks ago, when they were on the cusp of the top-3. At that point, they were coming off a dominant victory on the road against Washington State, but since their victory over the Cougars, the Bulldogs have played nothing like the team we're used to seeing. There was a three point loss to Arizona, a heartbreaking loss to UConn in OT and then the stunning loss, at home, to Portland State. Their lone victory in that stretch came against little known Texas Southern, who are currently winless on the season. But it's still Gonzaga and they were still ranked in the top-20. And for a program struggling to define itself, defeating the 16th ranked team in the nation can't be taken lightly. 

The Utes jumped out on the Bulldogs early and had an answer for nearly every Gonzaga run. That was important, because Utah has struggled in the past at putting a stop to opposing teams runs. And even though the final minute of play wasn't perfect, the Utes did manage to pull out a close victory, something this team seemed incapable of doing prior to the game. Those steps, however small, will get this program back to the top. It might be taking longer than many of us would have hoped when Boylen was hired, but victories like these tell us that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It might be miles away, but it's beginning to shine on through. 

GONZAGA BULLDOGS
STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Austin Daye, F 31 4-14 0-2 0-0 1 6 3 0 0 1 4 8
Josh Heytvelt, F 31 4-15 1-4 1-2 2 10 0 0 0 0 4 10
Jeremy Pargo, G 30 4-8 0-0 6-9 2 3 4 2 0 3 0 14
Matt Bouldin, G 24 3-9 0-1 2-2 1 3 0 2 0 2 2 8
Micah Downs, G 25 1-3 1-3 0-0 1 1 0 1 0 0 1 3
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Demetri Goodson, G 13 2-5 0-0 4-5 0 1 0 2 1 0 3 8
Steven Gray, G 35 4-7 0-2 6-9 3 7 3 4 1 1 3 14
Will Foster, C 7 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Ira Brown, F 4 0-1 0-1 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 1 2 0
TOTALS FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
22-62 2-13 19-27 10 31 10 11 2 8 19 65
35.5% 15.4% 70.4%
 
UTAH UTES
STARTERS MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Kim Tillie, F 24 2-5 0-0 4-6 2 8 1 1 2 1 0 8
Luke Nevill, C 25 4-7 0-0 7-10 3 8 1 0 3 6 4 15
Luka Drca, G 32 4-10 2-6 4-4 0 1 7 1 0 4 4 14
Lawrence Borha, G 34 4-10 3-8 0-0 0 5 0 0 1 2 5 11
Carlon Brown, G 31 2-8 0-2 2-2 3 7 4 1 0 1 2 6
BENCH MIN FGM-A 3PM-A FTM-A OREB REB AST STL BLK TO PF PTS
Jordan Cyphers, G-F 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 1 1 0
Jace Tavita, G-F 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
Shaun Green, F 32 3-5 3-5 0-0 0 7 0 1 1 2 3 9
Tyler Kepkay, G 19 1-3 1-3 0-0 0 2 2 0 0 0 5 3

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