It started with the highlights on the Jumbotron at the Huntsman Center.
Then the crowd started chanting his name. Finally, there was the standing ovation for Billy McGill, who stood proudly on the playing floor, chewing on his gum as if he had a game to play.
Utah honored one of its own on Wednesday night at halftime of the Utes’ matchup against Arizona, giving McGill a gift watch and showering him with adulation. Next month, McGill will be inducted into the Pac-12 Hall Of Fame, like Keith Van Horn was a season ago.
McGill is one of the best players in Utah’s history. He led the country in scoring in 1962, he once scored 60 points against BYU and was once the first overall pick of the NBA draft.
His number has been retired by Utah and he’s generally credited as the first player to regularly use the jump hook in the paint.
McGill was a part of Utah’s all-century team, honored in 2008.
Arizona may have dictated momentum for Wednesday night’s matchup with Utah before the game even tipped off.
In somewhat of a surprise, the Wildcats started Gabe York, instead of Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. The move gave Arizona much more shooting on the floor, and York responded with his best game of the season.
A sophomore guard, York scored 10 points in the first half, and had 15 points through the first 30 minutes. In that time span, York went 6-8 from the field and made 3-4 from 3-point range. Simply put, he was a big difference on Wednesday night, as Arizona was able to escape the Huntsman Center with a 67-63 overtime win.
Coming up big
Once again, Dallin Bachynski made an impact. Utah’s junior big man scored 12 points and grabbed nine rebounds in 33 minutes. He battled Kaleb Tarczewski to a standstill and was good offensively, shooting 5-8 from the field.
Even with the defeat, Utah remains in seventh place in the Pac-12. That’s because Washington lost to Oregon on the road. Both teams are 6-8 on the season, but the Utes hold the tie-breaker.