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Runnin' Utes Set to Battle Yellow Jackets Monday in Ft. Myers

Nov 18, 2022

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah men's basketball team looks to right the ship next week as it travels to Ft. Myers, Fla., this weekend to get ready to open the Ft. Myers Tip-Off event against Georgia Tech on Monday, Nov. 21, at 4 p.m. (MT) / 6 p.m. (ET) on FS1.
Brandon Gaudin, the voice of Madden NFL, teams up with Bill Raftery on the call between the Runnin' Utes and Yellow Jackets as well as every game from the Beach Division inside Suncoast Credit Union Center. Complete information with game times, TV information etc. for the entire tournament can be found at the tournament central page.
Led by seventh-year head coach Josh Pastner, Georgia Tech enters the tournament 3-0 on the season after dismantling Northern Illinois 68-50. As a team, the Yellow Jackets are ranked fifth in three-point field-goal defense (.183), 17th in field-goal percentage, 21st in blocks per game (6.3) and 22nd in rebounds per game (44.33). Ja'Von Franklin, who had a double-double in Georgia Tech's victory over NIU with 14 points and 11 rebounds, has been a force for the Yellow Jackets on the defensive end, swatting a team-high nine blocks – which ranks 19th nationally while his 3.0 blocks per game is ranked 15th in the NCAA.
Sophomores Miles Kelly and Dallan Coleman pace Georgia Tech on the offensive end, averaging 12.7 points and 12.3 points, respectively. Deivon Smith isn't far off averaging 9.3 points and 6.7 rebounds while Franklin and Jalon Moore are averaging 8.0 points with Moore leading the team with a 7.3 rebounding average.
Mississippi State is led by first-year head coach Chris Jans, who currently has his Bulldogs at 4-0 on the year after defeating South Dakota 79-42 in their campus game of the FMTO. Known for his defense after many years as an assistant at Wichita State, Jans also has Hail State doing the same holding opponents to just 46.8 points per game – which ranks fourth in the country. The Bulldogs are also holding opponents to just a .309 shooting clip – which ranks ninth in the NCAA while also checking in at No. 11 in the steals per game department (12.5).
Western Kentucky transfer Tolu Smith has led Mississippi State in scoring and rebounding so far this season, averaging 17.8 points and 8.5 rebounds through four games. Forward D.J. Jeffries is other Bulldog averaging in double-figures, checking in at 11.0 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game. Cameron Matthews is the only player to have a better shooting percentage than Smith (.714), averaging 8.3 points and 5.0 rebounds to go with his .778 shooting clip. Shakeel Moore has been MSU's best defensive guard, averaging 7.8 points, 3.8 rebounds and 3.3 steals.
Under the direction of second-year head coach Shaka Smart, Marquette enters the tournament 3-1 on the season after narrowly falling to a gritty Matt Painter team on the road 75-70. The Golden Eagles picked up their third win of the year over Long Island as part of their campus game 95-58. MU has shared the ball well thus far, dishing out 22.8 dimes a game – which is good for sixth-best in the country.
Because Marquette has shared the ball so well, it is very balanced on offense with four players averaging in double-figures. Junior Olivier-Maxence Prosper paces the team averaging 15.3 points and 4.3 rebounds with a .667 shooting clip while David Joplin is second on the team – by 1 point – averaging 15.0 points and 5.5 rebounds behind a team-best .464 shooting clip from beyond the arc. Oso Ighodaro averages 12.5 points and is tied for the team-lead on the boards at 5.8 rebounds per game while hitting 64-percent of his shots. Kam Jones is fourth leading scorer on the team, averaging 11.3 points and 5.3 assists. Tyler Kolek, who averages 7.0 points, is tied with Ighodaro for the team lead on the boards averaging 5.8 rebounds while dishing out a team-best 39 assists – which leads the nations.
The Runnin' Utes hit a road block this past Thursday against Sam Houston in their campus game for the Ft. Myers Tip-Off tournament. Utah did its best to claw back into the game and made it a one-possession game several times late but couldn't get over the hump in its 65-55 loss to the Bearkats.
Lazar Stefanovic reached double-figures for the first time this season, scoring 12 points on 4-of-9 shooting while Rollie Worster led the Utes with 14 points and six rebounds. Marco Anthony made his season-debut after missing the first three games with a lower leg injury scoring eight points on 4-of-6 shooting and four rebounds.
Depending on its result against Georgia Tech, the Runnin' Utes will either face Mississippi State or Marquette on Wednesday, Nov. 23. If the Utes play defeat the Yellow Jackets, they'll play in the 6:30 p.m. (MT) game. If the Utes fall to the Yellow Jackets, they'll play in the 4 p.m. (MT) game. Both games are set to broadcast on FS1 with Brandon Gaudin and Bill Raftery calling the game.
Like the rest of its non-conference schedule, Utah will have another tough opponent coming to town with a short turnaround in St. Thomas next Saturday, Nov. 26, with Jacob Tobey on the call alongside Dan Belluomini on Pac-12 Networks. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. (MT) inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
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.