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Utes satisfied in exhibition

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Utah newcomer Kim Tillie drives and shoots over Brock University's Chris Keith in an exhibition game Friday night in the Huntsman Center.

Utah newcomer Kim Tillie drives and shoots over Brock University’s Chris Keith in an exhibition game Friday night in the Huntsman Center.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News

There were too many turnovers the first half against an obviously outmatched Brock University team from Canada Friday night in the Huntsman Center.

But University of Utah basketball coach Ray Giacoletti was satisfied with what he saw as the Utes opened the exhibition season with a 92-53 victory.

"I'm pleased with our effort. That was the biggest thing first, the kind of effort we're going to need for 40 minutes," he said.

"And there's six freshmen out there running around after just 18 practices, and they're wired. For the first opportunity, juices are flowing, I thought they did a nice job."

Actually, seven freshmen played as walkon Craig Cusick of Orem got in for two minutes. Three newcomers got more than 20 minutes and contributed accordingly.

Daniel Deane pulled in 10 rebounds to go with his seven points and five assists, Stephen Weigh made four of six free throws for nine points and Kim Tillie made five of eight shots for 12 points and added four rebounds as his parents and two brothers watched in the stands. The family returns to France today.

"It was fun. I really liked it that they were here for my first game," said Tillie. "They really enjoyed it here in Utah."

While the Utes had 10 first-half turnovers, four of them in the post as Brock's smallsters doubled Utah's post and were rewarded with steals when Luke Nevill held the ball too low.

One time with the Badgers clawing away at Nevill, Giacoletti got the first technical foul of his Ute tenure for saying "the magic word" trying to protect Nevill. He thought his big man was hit in the face and said so and agreed the officials were right in calling his outburst.

Noted Tillie, "We reached our goals that we said before the game." That's because the Utes cut the turnovers to five in the second half and held Brock to less than 30 points a half. They also drew a lot of fouls and shot 36 free throws, another goal.

Tillie said he thinks he has a good feel for the American college game and said it's fairly similar what he played for Paris Basket Racing's junior team. "It's pretty much the same intensity and physically," he said.

Ute junior point guard Johnnie Bryant said he's been able to put in extra shooting practice as his class schedule — he'll finish his undergraduate degree this fall — allows him to get into the gym more. He made seven of nine tries including 4-for-6 on 3-pointers for 18 points.

It was tough to get a real read because the Badgers do things differently than most American teams. For instance, their off-guard takes the ball out of bounds instead of the power forward, fouling some Ute defensive ideas, and their center runs out to the 3-point line on offense instead of setting up low.

But the game "gives us a platform to try and get better," Giacoletti said.

Utah's second exhibition is Monday night at the Huntsman with Montana Tech. The Utes open the regular season Friday night at 7 against Southern Utah.


E-mail: lham@desnews.com