The Runnin’ Utes are set to wrap up a three-game home stand Thursday night against Missouri.
This marks the third time Utah and Missouri will meet in the season series. It’s the first time since 1978. Neither teams have met in the regular season and tonight’s contest marks the first game the two teams have played on a non-neutral court.
Utah won the first-ever meeting, 45-35, in the West Region Semifinals back on March 24, 1944, in Kansas City, Mo. The Utes downed Missouri, 86-79, in double overtime back on March 12, 1978, in the Midwest Region first round that took place in Wichita, Kan.
Thursday night’s game should be a good one for the fans. Both Utah and Missouri are 2-0 for the season. Missouri downed Iowa State 74-59 in the season-opener and is coming off a 99-55 win over Wagner this past Monday.
Kassius Robertson leads a quartet of Missouri players in double-figures, averaging 17.0 points through the first two games. Kevin Puryear (14.5), Jordan Barnett (14.0) and Jeremiah Tilmon (10.5) follow as team leaders.
Puryear leads the team with 6.5 rebounds per game, while Jontay Porter has a team-high seven assists. Reed Nikko has tallied a team-best four blocked shots.
The biggest news might not be the players who are playing for Missouri since Michael Porter Jr. will not be playing. Porter Jr. was one of the top rated recruits and flipped to Missouri from Washington after the Huskies let go of Lorenzo Romar. Porter Jr. has the potential to be a star for the Tigers and go very high in the 2018 NBA Draft, but Utah fans will not see him out on the court tonight.
The Tigers are shooting .602 from the field, .489 from the three-point line and .688 from the charity stripe.
The Runnin’ Utes won its second contest in as many games with a 91-51 home victory over Mississippi Valley State this past Monday. Senior Gabe Bealer registered career-highs 20 points with six three-pointers made, while also tying a career-high in rebounds with seven, to lead the Runnin’ Utes past the Delta Devils.
Utah shot 50 percent from the floor, which included knocking down 13 three-pointers and converting 44.8 percent from downtown. The Utes were consistent from the free throw line as well, making 12-of-14.
Defensively the Utes tallied a pair of steals and seven blocked shots. Senior Tyler Rawson led the way with a career-high four blocked shots on the evening.
Date/Tipoff: Thursday, Nov. 16, 2017 | 6 p.m. MST
Location: Salt Lake City (Huntsman Center)
Television: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: Utah Radio Sports Network
The Utes head to Las Vegas next week to compete in the MGM Resorts Main Event. Utah will take on Ole Miss in the tournament-opener, with a tip-off set for 9:30 p.m. PT on Monday. Rice and UNLV are scheduled to face each other in the opening round, as well, with both the winners and losers of each contest taking on each other in the tournament’s final round on Wednesday.