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Runnin' Utes Capture Sunshine Slam Championships

Nov 21, 2021

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – The Utah men's basketball hoisted the Sunshine Slam Tournament trophy Sunday night inside the Ocean Center after taking down a physical Tulsa team 72-58 behind five players scoring in double-figures.
Branden Carlson was named the tournament MVP while David Jenkins Jr. garnered Sunshine Slam All-Tournament honors.
The Sunshine Slam Championship is Utah's fifth MTE title since the turn of the century, but is the first MTE championship the Utes have won outside of Salt Lake City since capturing the Glenn Wilkes Classic (Nov. 21-22, 2008) – which was coincidentally held inside the Ocean Center.
After jumping out to an early 4-0 lead, the Utes (5-0) hit a scoring drought and saw the Golden Hurricanes answer with a 7-0 run of their own before Rollie Worster ended Utah's 3:24 scoring drought with a 3-pointer to make it 7-7 heading into the first media break (15:25).
After Tulsa's Curtis Haywood II drained a 3-pointer out of the 6:52 media break, Utah's defense clamped down on the Golden Hurricanes and went on an 11-0 run. During that defensive sequence for the Runnin' Utes, Tulsa (3-2) went scoreless for a total of 4:26 minutes while going 0-for-7 from the field with two turnovers before Sam Griffin's layup ended the drought with Utah on top 33-24 heading into the locker room.

A majority of the second-half was a game of back-and-forth as Tulsa cut into Utah's double-digit lead twice before the Utes would pull away. After a quick 5-0 spurt behind an and-1 play from the Golden Hurricane's Darien Jackson, Utah once again used its defense to propel its offense.

Up 57-51 with 4:24 left to play, the Runnin' Utes mounted a 14-3 attack that was capped off by a great finish from Rollie Worster in the paint to give Utah the 71-54 lead before sealing the Sunshine Slam Championship when the clock hit zero.  
Carlson led the Utes with a double-double, posting 15 points and 13 rebounds on 7-of-12 shooting while Jenkins Jr. added 13 points – including a 4-of-4 night from the line. Lazar Stefanovic recorded the first double-digit scoring night in his young career with 12 on 5-of-9 shooting. Worster also had a dozen points to go with five rebounds and four assists while Both Gach rounded things out with 11 points off the bench for Utah.
With the win, Utah's Director of Athletic Training Trevor Jameson has been on staff for five non-conference tournament championships since the turn of the century … the last Utah team to start the season 5-0 was the 2013-14 squad that opened the year 6-0 before falling to Boise State 69-67 on the road … Craig Smith joins Robert Richardson (6-0, 1909-10) as the only other first-year head coach to have started their career on The Hill at least 5-0 … Utah went back to dominating the battle of the glass, out-rebounding the Golden Hurricane 45-29 – 15 of which came from the offensive glass … Utah men's basketball alum Tim McLaughlin (1982-85) was in attendance to see his alma mater win.

The Runnin' Utes return home to the friendly confines of the Jon M. Huntsman Center for an in-state rivalry match against BYU on Saturday, Nov. 27. Roxy Bernstein and Don MacLean will have the call on the 7:30 p.m. (MT) broadcast 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.