Utah Basketball Gets Job Done Against UC Irvine For First NIT Win

Mar 19, 2024, 11:09 PM | Updated: Mar 23, 2024, 3:57 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The two seed Runnin’ Utes played host to UC Irvine in the first round of the NIT at the Huntsman Center.

Utah had a heart-breaking loss to Colorado to finish out their time in the Pac-12 Tournament that eliminated them from any possibility of an NCAA Tournament invite. However, they are hopeful to continue playing together in the NIT and want to make the most of the experience.

The Utes got off to a quick start over UC Irvine, but the Anteaters battled back tying the game on three different occasions in the first half. Utah wasn’t phased and went into the locker room with a six-point lead after Gabe Madsen hit a halfcourt shot to end the half, 46-40.

There were moments that got dicey toward the end of the game, but the Utes persevered to advance in the NIT over UC Irvine, 84-75.

Starting NIT Lineups Runnin’ Utes Vs. UC Irvine

Up Next For Utah

With the win over UC Irvine, the Utes will now play host to Iowa in the second round of the NIT to be held either March 23 or 24.

Runnin’ Utes Stats Leaders In The NIT First-Round

  • Scoring Leader:  Branden Carlson – 21 points
  • Rebound Leader: Branden Carlson – 10 rebounds
  • Assists Leader:  Deivon Smith– 10 assists

Despite the elbow brace, Carlson finished as the leading scorer for the Utes with 21 points while also leading the team in rebounds with 10 giving him a double double. Carlson was a blocking machine on the defensive end posting five blocks on the night.

Gabe Madsen came in second scoring for the Utes putting down 16 points along with seven rebounds and five assists.

Hunter Erickson, and Deivon Smith tied for third in points with 13 each. Smith posted yet another double double with 10 assists.

Noteworthy Runnin’ Utes Stats In The NIT First-Round

The Utah men shot 55% from the field, 50% from the three, and 69% from their trips to the line.

The Utes collected 36 rebounds, 23 assists, 11 blocks, two steals and 11 turnovers.

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

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Utah Basketball Gets Job Done Against UC Irvine For First NIT Win