Utah heads into Friday’s clash with Cal State Bakersfield in Salt Lake City feeling good about what it can do around the basket.
The Utes (1-0) cruised to an 89-48 victory over Long Island in their season opener on Monday after dominating the Sharks in the post for 40 minutes.
Utah owned the glass, finishing with a 53-34 advantage in rebounds. Long Island scored just 20 points after halftime. The Utes forced 17 turnovers and blocked eight shots.
It was the first game since last November where Utah finished a game with at least 45 rebounds and eight blocks.
“It’s always good to start off with the win,” center Branden Carlson said after the game. “I just think the team competed really hard today; I think we played well together.”
Carlson paced Utah with 21 points, 10 rebounds and three blocks in only 22 minutes. All 14 available players saw action against Long Island.
The Utes played without usual starter Marco Anthony who suffered a bruised heel in practice a few days before the game. Anthony is expected to be sidelined on Friday as well.
“He may miss a little bit of time,” Utah coach Craig Smith said.
Cal State Bakersfield (1-0) opened its season with a 68-35 victory over San Diego Christian on Monday. The Roadrunners limited their NAIA opponent to 26.5 percent shooting from the field — including 14.3 percent from 3-point range. They forced 20 turnovers and scored 24 points off those takeaways.
Bakersfield ripped off a 20-4 run to take a 27-10 lead late in the first half and never looked back. Replicating that level of defense is a focus going in against Utah.
“We’ve got some small things we’ve got to get better at,” Roadrunners coach Rod Barnes said. “I thought our defense was good, but I think it can get better.”
This is the first meeting between the two schools.
–Field Level Media