The Utah Runnin' Utes got a big win tonight against the Michigan Wolverines, beating them by 16. This team has been up and down all season, but came to play tonight. Boylen's team came out fired up and controlled the entire game. This was the first game of a crucial home stand, which should give them good momentum going into the Oklahoma game. With the win the Utes will improve to (5-4) on the season, while the Wolverines drop to (4-4).
True freshman Marshall Henderson played the best game of his short career scoring 22 points off the bench in just 28 minutes. He started the game about as well as he could have, having 16 points by halftime. He hit 4 big three pointers, and played with a lot of emotion.
Carlon Brown struggled early, but took over in the final period. Michigan made a run at the Utes cutting their lead to 4, but Carlon Brown scored 7 points in the final four minutes helping put the game out of reach. He scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half. He added 8 rebounds to a good game that should help him get back to the level he should be playing at.
As expected, Manny Harris was phenomenal for Michigan. He single handily brought Michigan back into the game late in the second half, but it wasn't enough. He scored 25 points on 8-16 shooting with most of his shots closely contested.
Jim Boylen said in his press conference that they are focusing on giving up less layups and free throws. The interior defense was very good in this game, with Utah holding Michigan to just 34% from the field. Michigan only scored 16 points in the paint. David Foster had another great night defensively blocking 5 shots. The Utes did lose the free throw battle giving Michigan 20 free throw attempts compared to their 9. Michigan shot those free throws very poorly however, making just 11 of 20.
Although Michigan is now just .500 on the season, this is a big win for Utah. Michigan had high expectations coming into this season and should compete in the Big 10. Utah is showing that they have what it takes to make a run for the MWC title, they are already making big strides since their early losses.
Coming up next is another big home game against Oklahoma on Saturday at 2:00 PM. A win Saturday can greatly boost Utah's RPI score, and give them a bit of momentum going into conference play in January.