Utah Basketball Have Slow Start, Finish Strong In Lone Exhibition Game

Nov 1, 2023, 8:06 PM | Updated: 9:08 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The Runnin’ Utes kicked off their 2023-24 efforts with an exhibition game against Westminster that they started slow, but finished strong in.

In his third season with the Utes, head coach Craig Smith has worked hard to continue improving Utah’s roster in hopes of returning the program to its former glory. It appears Smith has some pieces in place to take another step forward in the coming season.

Utah did start slow shooting, but eventually got things cooking toward midway of the first half and never looked back beating the Griffins 84- 61.

Runnin’ Utes Exhibition Game Stats Leaders

  • Scoring Leader: Cole Bajema – 18 points
  • Rebounds Leader: Ben Carlson – 9 boards
  • Assists Leader: Cole Bajema – 4 assists

Bajema was 5 of 6 from the field, 3 of 4 from the three, and a perfect 5 of 5 from the line. He added two rebounds, a team-leading four assists and one steal in 25 minutes of play.

Hunter Erickson added 16 points, Lawson Lovering 15 points and Branden Carlson 10 points rounded out the top point getters for the night.

Ben Carlson was good for seven points to go along with his team-leading nine rebounds in 18 minutes of play.

Noteworthy Team Stats

The team finished with 56% shooting from the paint, 50% shooting from the three, and 56% shooting from the line.

The Utes kept turnovers down to 10, while collecting 12 Griffin turnovers for nine points.

They finished the night with 36 total rebounds, six on offense, seven blocks, eight steals and 22 total assists.

What Craig Smith Had To Say About Utah’s First Outing

Utah head coach Craig Smith was very complimentary of Westminster, noting the slow start on offense from the Utes, but was generally pleased with the team’s first outing.

“I thought there was some of what you’d maybe expect- was hoping to play better but I think you have to credit them,” Smith said in post-game. “They just do some really funky things that you don’t see very often at our level and coach Norm Parish has been a very successful coach for a long time. We wish them the best for their season. I thought there was some really, really good and some not-so-good. I didn’t think we got off to a very good start offensively. We just had some sloppy turnovers and doing some things I hadn’t seen out of our guys in a closed scrimmage or against ourselves. That’s partly why you play these games.”

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 XInstagram, and Threads: @BodkinKSLsports

Are you on Threads yet? Let’s connect, give us a follow @kslsports

Download the new & improved KSL Sports app from Utah’s sports leader. You can stream live radio, video and stay up to date on all of your favorite teams.

  • Utah Utes Scoreboard

  • Utah Utes Team Leaders

  • Utah Utes Standings

Utah Utes


Michelle Bodkin

Utah Women’s Basketball Moves Up In AP Top 25

The Utah Utes women’s basketball team moved up in the latest AP Top 25 after handling business against Carroll College and BYU last week.

3 hours ago

Gianna Kneepkens - Utah Utes vs. Stanford - Pac-12 Title Game...

Michelle Bodkin

Utah Women’s Basketball Star Gianna Kneepkens Out For Season

Utah women's basketball star Gianna Kneepkens will miss the remainder of the year with a season-ending injury.

4 hours ago


Michelle Bodkin

Utah Quarterback Bryson Barnes Hits NCAA Transfer Portal

Utah Utes quarterback Bryson Barnes will be hitting the NCAA Transfer Portal for the 2024 season after taking the wheel in 2023.

6 hours ago


Michelle Bodkin

Northwestern Head Coach David Braun Admires Utah Football Model

Northwestern head coach David Braun had some great things to say about Kyle Whittingham and the Utes ahead of a Las Vegas Bowl matchup.

7 hours ago

How To Watch Utah Utes Football Rice-Eccles Stadium Weber State Wildcats...

Michelle Bodkin

2024 Utah Football Transfer Portal Tracker

It's time to take tabs of who is coming and going through the Utah football program with our 2024 NCAA Transfer Portal Tracker.

8 hours ago


Michelle Bodkin

Utah Receiver Devaughn Vele Declares For 2024 NFL Draft

While receiver Devaughn Vele could come back to Utah for one more year, he will instead prepare for the 2024 NFL Draft.

21 hours ago

Sponsored Articles


KSL Sports

Jazz Notes Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the Jazz Notes newsletter. Get insider analysis, game recaps and opportunities to win tickets!

3 kids wearing real salt lake jerseys smiling...

Real Salt Lake

6 Reasons You Need to Experience a RSL Matchday

RSL Games are a great way to spend time with your family with fun activities, good food, and traditions you can only experience at the field.

High angle view of the beautiful Rose Bowl Stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

How to Prepare for the 2023 Rose Bowl

Everything you need to know to plan your 2023 Rose Bowl trip in Pasadena, California. This year, the Utes will face Penn State.


KSL Digital Sales

Notable Moments From The Utah Jazz Season… So Far

At the beginning of the season, the Utah Jazz were second to last. Now they rank in the top 10 teams in the Western Conference.

Football soccer ball on grass field on stadium...

KSL Digital Sales

Everything You Need to Know to Watch the 2022 World Cup

Find out where and when to watch the upcoming games and final match for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, including where to find live updates.


KSL Sports

KSL Sports Newsletter: Sign Up Now

Sign up today for the KSL Sports newsletter. Get the latest Utah sports news delivered to your inbox.

Utah Basketball Have Slow Start, Finish Strong In Lone Exhibition Game