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New Look Utes Dominate Sharks 89-48 on Opening Night

Nov 7, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY – The 2022-23 edition of Utah men's basketball team started off the season with a bang as it dominated Long Island 89-48 Monday night inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center as part of tip-off week.
The Utes didn't waste any time, scoring just 11 second into the game when Lazar Stefanovic found Branden Carlson for the easy lay-in and the first bucket of the 2022-23 season. Utah (1-0) continued to pound the post and started the game with an 8-0 run before LIU head coach Rod Strickland called at a timeout with 17:10 on the clock.

Utah's got its largest lead of the first frame with 7:55 left to play after Wilguens Junior Exacte connected on his second triple of the night to put the Utes on top 27-11. LIU (0-1) slowly dug away at the Utah lead, 29-21, and forced a timeout at the 5:20 mark before heading into the locker room ahead 42-28.
The second half started off with a blitzkrieg from the Utes to the tune of a 12-0 run and extended its lead to 54-28. That lead would only get larger as Utah held Long Island to just 20 second-half points. With the Runnin' Utes breaking the 40-point barrier, head coach Craig Smith unloaded bench and played all 14 available players.

Carlson led the way with his seventh-career double-double scoring 21 points on 10 rebounds with a trio of blocks. Gabe Madsen, who started the second-half blitzkrieg for Utah, finished with 13 points behind a perfect 7-of-7 night at the free-throw line.
Exacte, who's dad surprised him at the game today, opened his collegiate career with 12 points and six rebounds on 4-of-8 shooting – including 2-of-3 from deep. Rollie Worster commanded the offense well and chipped in with 11 points and five rebounds while Mike Saunders Jr. added 11 points as well off the bench on 3-of-4 shooting. Despite not scoring, Ben Carlson had a career-night pulling down 11 rebounds – four of which came on the offensive end.  
First subs off the bench for Utah heading into the media break were Wilguens Junior Exacte and Keba Keita … Gavin Baxter and Mike Saunders Jr. were the next two off the bench … Gabe Madsen has now hit at least one 3-pointer in 11-straight games dating back to last season … last time Utah had 50-plus rebounds in a game was against Sacramento State (11/13/21) … last time Utah had 8 or more blocks in a single game was against Sac State (9 blocks) … with the win, Craig Smith is now 6-3 all-time as a Division I head coach in season -openers and 4-1 when those season-openers have been at home … as a program, the Utes are now 100-16 all-time in home-openers and 80-13 all-time when those home-openers have also served as the season-opener … In total, Utah is 88-26 all-time in season-opening games.

Four-game homestand continues for Utah as it welcomes in CSU Bakersfield for a 5 p.m. (MT) tilt on Friday, Nov. 11, for Veteran's Day. In addition to all active, reserve and retired all receiving FREE TICKETS with their military ID, the Runnin' Utes will also don their special USS Salt Lake City uniforms against the 'Runners.
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.