The Utah and UC Riverside men’s basketball teams face each other Friday night in Salt Lake City in hopes of picking up their second win during the first week of the season.
The Runnin’ Utes (1-0) cruised to a 101-66 home win over Eastern Washington on Monday in their opener, while the Highlanders (1-0) pulled away from UC Merced for a 76-69 home victory on Tuesday in their season debut.
“I think it’s always good to learn from a win,” said UC Riverside coach Mike Magpayo, whose team took the lead for good midway through the second half.
The game at Utah will be the first of four Power 5 road trips for UC Riverside, which registered a program-record 22 wins in 2022-23.
In the Highlanders’ season-opening win, Barrington Hargress scored a team-high 16 points. Jhaylon Martinez added 13 points and Luke Turner chipped in with 11.
Utah handed UC Riverside lopsided losses in the programs’ previous two matchups — 88-42 in 2014 and 85-67 in 2016.
The Utes, in their one-sided opener, used a 14-2 run late in the first half to go up by 24 at the break. Rollie Worster scored all 15 of his points before halftime, and he also finished with eight assists, a career-high six steals and five rebounds.
Gabe Madsen led Utah in scoring with 20 points, including 13 in the second half to help put Eastern Washington away. The Utes also got 11 points apiece from Branden Carlson, Keba Keita and Ben Carlson. Keita hauled in 11 rebounds for his first collegiate double-double.
Utah coach Craig Smith was pleased with his team’s 3-point shooting. The Utes hit 11 of 25 attempts from downtown.
“It ignites the crowd. Every fanbase loves made 3s, but I’ve learned Utah fans really love made 3s. That’s a compliment,” Smith said. “It gets the crowd into the game. Our players love made 3s. The bench loves made 3s. The coaches love made 3s. Threes are momentum plays.”
–Field Level Media
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