On Monday night at the Huntsman Center, the Utes moved to 3-0 on the season after a big win over Bethune-Cookman. Going against a team like this, you hope not to get pulled into their style of play, which is usually a bit hectic and all over the court. The Utes did get suckered into that a bit early on with some sloppy turnovers and giving up some bad offensive rebounds. After about the first eight minutes, the Utes settled in and started to play their game.
It was a one-two punch between Branden Carlson and David Jenkins to get the Utes rolling. Carlson asserted himself with his speed and size against the smaller opponent. He only went 4 of 7 on the night but had 14 points and nine rebounds. However, it was Jenkins that gave the Utes the separation they needed by going off from beyond the arc. He had 25 points on the night, with 20 of those in the first half. He shot 7 of 10 from the field and 6 of 9 from three. Jenkins pitching in five assists is a nice number to see as well.
On the night, Utah shot 48% from the field and 39% from three. They moved the ball well and looked for each other, as has been the norm with this Craig Smith team thus far. The 19 assists on 27 field goals is nice.
Utah went deep into the bench, and everyone played on Monday night, and I’m so interested in seeing the ultimate lineup for the Utes as they get into conference play. Right now, Both Gach is coming off the bench, and I’m wondering if he’s going to stay in that bench roll or if maybe he’ll move into a starting role. I think he and Jenkins could compliment each other well.
On defense, the Utes were solid as well, holding Bethune-Cookman to 32% shooting from the floor and just 26% from three. It’s not like they were the most offensively put-together squad, but it’s good to see the Utes keep them from shooting well, especially when they give up a bunch of offensive rebounds to open the game.
Not a lot to say about the game, but it’s another step for the squad as they attempt to build their identity and continue to come together under Craig Smith.
Now the Utes Dayton Beach for the rest of the Sunshine Slam and will take on Boston College on Saturday.