Utah Basketball Grinds Out Win Against Idaho State

Nov 14, 2022, 10:37 PM

Branden Carlson - Utah Utes vs. Sacramento State...

Utah Utes center Branden Carlson (35) goes to the hoop ahead of Sacramento State Hornets center Jonathan Komagum (21) at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Nov. 13, 2021. (Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

(Spenser Heaps, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY- It was not the prettiest win Utah basketball has had so far early in the season, but they did overcome adversity and grind out a tough win against Idaho State Monday night, 70-58.

“Solid win for the Utes and obviously it was a bit of a grinder-type of game,” Smith said. “I thought there was some fluid moments and then some real grinding moments. Those can be agonizing and frustrating but that is basketball, and every night is a little bit different.”

The good news is that the Runnin’ Utes made it through what one could maybe call their first test, showing a little grit and a lot of willingness to work through the tough spots with no panic.

Leaders And Standouts For The Utes

Despite a sometimes-awkward effort, Utah did have some noteworthy performances too that helped keep them in the game when the Vandals bogged things down.

Center Branden Carlson was brilliant once more while having a career night in points produced at 26. Not shockingly the effort led the team with Carlson also taking the top spot in rebounds with nine.

Rollie Worster led the team in assists with three while also adding in six points and five rebounds.

Maybe the most exciting prospect of the night was getting to see Luka Tarlac in action for the first time this season after sitting out the first few games with an injury. Tarlac impressed in his first appearance as a Ute with eight points, four rebounds, and one steal.

“I thought Luka Tarlac gave us great minutes,” Smith said. “He’s been out for almost 2 1/1- 3 weeks and he practiced lightly Saturday and had a good practice yesterday. We were just seeing how he was going to feel today and obviously he was feeling good.”

Sticking With The Game Plan

Carlson thought the team was a little disjointed to start the game and then perhaps taken aback to start the second half when the Vandals fought back.

“In the first half I thought we had some trouble playing connected,” Carlson said. “I think we were taking some bad shots, some shots we don’t normally take. The second half we just- I think we came out ready to go and they just kind of got back into it. They wouldn’t quit. They are a good team; they are a tough team, and they will play hard the entire time.”

Guard Gabe Madsen doesn’t think it was all bad for Utah to struggle this game, noting it can be more helpful to the team than blowing people out.

“I think it’s really important early on for sure,” Madsen said. “The blowout wins are nice, but it’s not going to make you that much better. You have to fight through a little bit. It’s good to get a little bit of a challenge and fight through it and come out with a win. It’s not always pretty but it’s good for the team to get a little adversity early.”

Up Next

Utah basketball will be gearing up for another tough matchup with Sam Houston on Thursday at the Huntsman Center. Tipoff is 7 pm MT and the game can be viewed on the Pac-12 Network.


Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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Utah Basketball Grinds Out Win Against Idaho State