Utes: Utes get defensive in exhibition win
Coach Jim Boylen wanted defense, his Utah Utes gave him defense.
Most of the time, anyway.
Even though they endured some aggravatingly sloppy lapses in their final exhibition tune-up, the Utes generally looked a lot more like the tenacious team Boylen wants them to become while smothering Division II Northwest Nazarene 88-43 in front of 7,650 at the Huntsman Center on Tuesday night.
The Utes made 15 steals, forced 23 turnovers and held the Crusaders to 27 percent shooting - marks that all would have been season bests last year.
"The most important thing was we held them below 30 percent" shooting, forward Stephen Weigh said. "That's a telling factor, right there."
Though they ultimately allowed more points than in their 83-40 victory over NAIA Montana Tech last week, the Utes set the tone against a better team by making five steals and forcing seven turnovers in the first 10 minutes.
"We improved," Boylen said. "We improved our toughness. We hit some people . . . we dove on the floor . . . we took a step in the right direction."
Center Luke Nevill enjoyed another strong night offensively with 19 points and eight rebounds. Weigh added 17 points.
Utah 78, Fort Lewis 32: Utah's women's team went on a 32-0 run to start the second half of Tuesday's exhibition in the Huntsman Center. The Utes had six players in double figures, including Kalee Whipple with 17 points.