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Runnin' Utes Victorious in Gritty Battle Versus ACC's Boston College

Nov 20, 2021

DAYTON BEACH, Fla. – Utah men's basketball team is headed to the Sunshine Slam Championship game on Sunday, Nov. 21, after defeating Boston College in a physical battle Saturday night inside the Ocean Center. The Utes will play the winner between Tulsa and Rhode Island at 5:30 p.m. (MT) on FloHoops ($).
Utah moves to 4-0 on the year after the win and is just the fourth time the Utes have started the season at least 4-0 since 2011-12.
As anticipated, the battle between the Runnin' Utes and Eagles was a tough back-and-forth  game with neither team leading by more than seven points when Utah took an early 14-7 edge at the 13:25 mark. After Both Gach completed the and-1 situation out of the 11:40 media timeout, Boston College closed in on the Utes with a 5-0 spurt to get within 17-16 but baskets from Gach and Lazar Stefanovic saw Utah hold a 21-18 advantage with 7:50 left in the frame.

An exchange of baskets saw the Eagles once again get within a possession of Utah, 24-22, but back-to-back scores from Branden Carlson – including a thunderous jam – put Utah back on top 28-22. However, a 10-2 run by BC saw Utah head into the locker room down for the first time this season, 32-30.

After an out of bounds play, Riley Battin found Stefanovic on the swing pass for a huge 3-pointer to stretch Utah's lead to 46-41 with 11:18 remaining. Boston College (3-2) again used a short 6-0 run to get within 48-47 of the Utes, but Utah was able to answer each time the Eagles inched within a basket.
Up 57-55 and 2:24 left to go, Rollie Worster hit a step-back jumper to make it 59-55 before Marco Anthony found Carlson on the baseline drive for a thunderous dunk down the lane to make it 61-57. From there, Jenkins Jr. and Battin put on a free-throw shooting clinic hitting 7-of-8 from the line to secure the win.
Carlson and Jenkins Jr. tied for the team-high with 13 points apiece while Carlson scored nine of his 13 in the second-half. Anthony had a solid night for the Utes, scoring nine points on seven rebounds while Stefanovic added nine points of his own on 4-of-5 shooting. Battin, who got the steal with eight ticks left to secure the game, finished with seven points and five assists – including a perfect 4-of-4 night from the line. Worster dished out a new season-high seven assists as well to go with his six points.
With Saturday's win, it is the first time since the start of the 2016-17 season that both the men's and women's basketball programs at Utah have started the year 4-0 … head coach Craig Smith is now 1-of-3 first-year head coaches at Utah and the first in the modern era to start the year 4-0, joining Robert Richardson (1909-10, 6-0) and Thomas Fitzpatrick (1917-18, 4-0) … Saturday was the first game Utah has been out-rebounded in a game and was the second-straight game where Boston College won the rebounding battle but lost.
The Utes will now wait and see who their opponent will be as Tulsa and Rhode Island square off inside the Ocean Center to close out day one of the Sunshine Slam here in Daytona Beach.
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.