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Seniors, newcomers excel in win

The Utes won the second half of the doubleheader Saturday, even if it doesn't count as an official game.

Less than an hour after the Ute football team knocked off Wyoming by 30 points, the basketball team took on Whitman College in an exhibition game up at the Huntsman Center and won by a similar margin in taking a 77-54 victory.

Not surprisingly, the Ute seniors led the way with Bryant Markson scoring 21 points on 10-of-13 shooting, Chris Jackson going a perfect 6 for 6 from the field for 12 points and Tim Drisdom contributing a solid effort with eight points, eight rebounds and six assists.

"We needed to play somebody else," said Ute coach Ray Giacoletti, whose team has been practicing for three weeks. "We had a lot of guys who hadn't played a (Division I) basketball game. I definitely saw improvement from the first half to the second half."

Five of the 10 players who saw action for Utah were playing their first game and each had his moments.

Freshman center Luke Nevill finished with 11 points and six rebounds, along with a couple of blocked shots, in 21 minutes. Freshman Shaun Green started but had a tough shooting night, missing all seven of his field goal attempts. However, Giacoletti wasn't bothered in the least.

"He did all the other things," Giacoletti said, referring to Green's nine rebounds, two steals and overall strong floor play. "He can shoot the basketball, I see it every day in practice."

Johnnie Bryant started and scored six points while handing out five assists with only one turnover. Lawrence Borha and Ricky Johns each scored four points off the bench.

Utah's other two players, junior Jonas Langvad and sophomore Chris Grant, finished with six and two points, respectively, as all 10 Utes scored.

Jackson said he feels much better a year after back surgery and just shrugged off his 6-for-6 night, saying, "When you're that close to the basket, you hope to make most of those."

The Utes jumped out to a 20-4 lead against the Division III foe, before the Missionaries shook off their jitters and got into the game. They cut the lead to nine before the Utes took a 38-27 halftime lead. In the second half, Utah gradually built the lead up to 24 before settling for the final margin.

The Missionaries tried to stay in the game by firing up 3-pointers from all over the floor, making 10 of 29 on the night. But they didn't have the talent or the height to stay with the Utes.

Ian Warner led the way for Whitman with 13 points, including 4 of 8 from 3-point range. Greg Ricker added eight points and eight assists.

The Utes play another exhibition game Nov. 14 against Northwest Nazarene before starting the season Nov. 18 against Texas State at the Huntsman Center.