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Both Gach scores 11 in Runnin’ Utes debut as Utah pummels Sacramento State

The Utah men’s basketball team beats the Hornets 89-56 for second straight win.

(Nick Grace/University of Utah) Both Gach dribbles the ball during the University of Utah men’s basketball team's win over Sacramento State on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021, at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. Goth recently received his NCAA eligibility waiver and made his debut Saturday for the Runnin' Utes.

Utah Runnin’ Utes coach Craig Smith used an animated film character and a world-famous runner to describe what Both Gach’s brings to the table.

“I like to say he’s like Dash from ‘The Incredibles,’ but Dash has way quicker steps,” Smith said after Utah beat Sacramento State 89-56 on Saturday at the Huntsman Center. “He’s more a long strider, like Usain Bolt.”

Gach wasted no time getting into the flow of the game in his season debut with the Runnin’ Utes. Four seconds after he entered the action, Gach lobbed a pass to Branden Carlson for a dunk. Late in the game, he dribbled between his legs and knocked down a long jump shot in the face of a defender.

Those sequences were the most exciting of his 19 minutes on the floor, but it portended what Utah has been waiting for as it waited for the NCAA to grant Gach’s eligibility waiver, which it did on Friday.

Gach finished with 11 points, three assists and two rebounds in his first game of the 2021-22 season. He shot 4 of 6 from the field and committed three turnovers.

Carlson scored a career-high 21 points on 8-of-10 shooting, including 3 of 5 from the 3-point line. Marco Anthony scored six points and brought down 16 rebounds.

Bryce Fowler led the Hornets (1-1) with 12 points and five rebounds.Gach was a full participant in every practice and workout as he and the team waited for word from the NCAA. Smith said as the season drew near, however, Gach didn’t play much with the Utah’s key players because he had not yet received eligibility.

From a preparation standpoint, Gach was ready to play in Tuesday’s win over Abilene Christian. But that marked the third Gach missed after the closed scrimmage and the exhibition game against Westminster.

Although it was his first action with his not-so-new team, Gach had no jitters before the game.

“I don’t get those,” Gach said. “It’s basketball. You just go out there, play your game, have fun and just roll with it.”

Gach came off the bench Saturday. He said with him missing those first three games, his main goal was just to get his feet wet and get used to playing with this iteration of the Runnin’ Utes.

Right now, he doesn’t care whether he starts or plays a reserve role.

“I’m just going to do whatever the team wants to me to,” Gach said. “If it’s coming off the bench or starting, for me it doesn’t really matter at this point. I just want to do whatever I have to do to make sure we win.”

Smith has coveted Gach for years. He said he tried recruiting Gach twice while he was coaching Utah State — once when he graduated high school, and again when he transferred out of Utah.

“He’s just kind of a Jack of all trades kind of guy,” Smith said. “He’s a guy that bring a lot of different things to the table that are going to help our team.”

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