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Runnin' Utes Headed to Daytona Beach to Battle Boston College in Sunshine Slam

Nov 18, 2021

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah men's basketball team is off to Daytona Beach, Fla., this weekend for the Sunshine Slam Tournament where it will first play Boston College this Saturday, Nov. 20, at 3 p.m. (MT) inside the Ocean Center before battling Rhode Island or Tulsa the following day.
Spence Siegal will have the call between the Runnin' Utes and Eagles while Ben Stout serves as the analyst on FloHoops all weekend. 
According to STATS, LLC, Utah's average of points, assists and rebounds per game (151.0) is 12th-best in the country among Power Conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, SEC) and third among the Pac-12. Arizona tops the list with a PAR average of 166.7 while UCLA is seventh with a 155.8 average.
Through three games, Utah's +72 rebounding margin is tied for third most amongst schools in Power Conferences dating back to the 1996-97 season.

Rk. Season Team Rebounding Margin (Utah – Opp)
1. 2020-21 Illinois 109 (162-53)
2. 2005-06 LSU 93 (165-72)
3. 2021-22 Utah 72 (159-87)
2018-19 North Carolina 72 (145-73)
2004-05 Pittsburgh 72 (145-72)

Top-5 Highest Rebounding Margin in First 3 Games of Season by Pac-12 Team (1996-97)

Rk. Season Team Rebounding (Utah – Opp)
1. 2021-22 Utah 72 (159-87)
2. 2013-14 Utah 65 (153-88)
3. 2016-17 Utah 64 (166-102)
4. 2019-20 Utah 61 (160-99)
2018-19 Arizona State 61 (164-103)

Top-5 Rebounding Totals in First 3 Games of Season (2021-22)

Rk. Team Total
1. Utah 159
2. College of Charleston 156
3. Western Illinois 152
4. Illinois 151
5. Southern Utah 149

Saturday's match-up will be the fourth time the Runnin' Utes have squared off against Boston College and each meeting has been on a neutral floor while Utah holds the all-time series 2-1. The Utes took the first two meetings while the Eagles took the last meeting.  
Both institutions are led by first-year head coaches with Earl Grant in his first season atop Chestnut Hill while Craig Smith is in his first year in Salt Lake City.
Boston College has a balanced roster of youth and veterans on the team with eight upperclassmen and eight underclassmen – including a trio of graduate players. T.J. Bickerstaff leads the team averaging 14.3 points and 8.5 rebounds with a team-best .526 shooting clip. DeMarr Langford is second on the team in scoring, averaging 13.5 points and 5.3 rebounds with a team-high tying .526 shooting clip with Bickerstaff. Makai Ashton-Langford and Quinten Post have near identical numbers with both players averaging 11.0 points while Ashton-Langford is averaging 4.5 rebounds to Post's 5.0 rebounding average. Ashton-Langford is also the team's leader in assists with 16 while Jaeden Zackery is right behind him with 13 assists on the year to go with his 9.0 points average.
The Eagles opened the season 3-0 before hitting their first roadblock against Rhode Island on Wednesday in Kingston, R.I., just ahead of the tournament in Daytona Beach.
Like the Utes, the Rams head into the weekend with a 3-0 record after defeating Boston College Wednesday night. URI held the Eagles to just 25-percent shooting in their match-up despite losing the battle of glass 42-29. Rhody, however, assisted on 16 of its 19 made field goals in the win while registering 13 total blocks as a team – eight of which came from Makhel Mitchell.
As a team, Rhode Island is second nationally in blocked shots per game through games on Nov. 17, averaging 11.7 denials while also holding opponents to just a .289 shooting clip.
The Rams spread the ball around well with four players averaging in double-figures with a fifth player averaging just a smidge below while two other players are averaging 7.0 points. Makhi Mitchell is averaging a double-double through three games with 11.3 points per game and 10.3 boards per game to go with a .591 shooting clip. Ishmael Leggett is tied with Mitchell in points, averaging 11.3 points to go with his 3.7 rebounding average. Jeremy Sheppard is third on the team in scoring, averaging 10.3 points while Ishmael El-Amin is averaging 10.0 points.
Tulsa comes into this weekend 2-1 overall after sneaking past Oregon State this past Monday, 64-58. The Golden Hurricane opened the season with a win over Northwestern State before falling to Air Force, 59-58, in a tightly contested game.
Jeriah Horne, a 6-7 transfer from Colorado, leads the team in scoring through three games. The grad transfer is averaging 20 points and 8.0 rebounds on top of his .500 shooting clip. Sam Griffin is second on the team in scoring, averaging 17.0 points and 1.0 rebounds. Both Horne and Griffin are tied for the most made threes on the team with eight apiece. Darien Jackson is nearly averaging in double-figures, posting 9.0 points per game for Tulsa.
For the third-straight game, Utah took care of business and defeated Bethune-Cookman 86-55 at home to open the Sunshine Slam this past Monday. David Jenkins, Jr. led the Utes with 25 points on 6-of-9 shooting from three-point range in the win. Branden Carlson was a rebound short of recording a double-double with 14 points and nine rebounds while going perfect from the line (6-for-6). Both Gach rounded out the double-digit scoring list with 11 points in the win.

As a team, Utah out rebounded the Wildcats 46-30 while also assisting on 20 of its 27 made shots. In addition, Utah also drained 11 triples on the night – six of which came from Jenkins Jr.
The Utes will close out the Sunshine Slam on Sunday, Nov. 21, with Rhode Island or Tulsa. Tip-off on Sunday is scheduled for either 3 p.m. (MT) or 5:30 p.m. After closing the tournament, Utah returns home for the 262nd meeting between Utah and BYU. Roxy Bernstein and Don MacLean will have the call between Runnin' Utes and Cougars on the Pac-12 Mountain broadcast with tip set for 7:30 p.m. (MT).
After hosting the in-state rivalry game, Utah opens up Pac-12 play on the road against USC on Wednesday, Dec. 1, before returning home to host California in the Pac-12 home-opener on Sunday, Dec. 5. Tip-off against USC is set for 9:30 p.m. (MT) while the start against the Bears is set for 3 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks.
For the latest news and information on the Runnin' Utes men's basketball program, fans can stay connected online at and on social media by following @UtahMBB on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.