A pair of undefeated teams clash when Utah hosts Sam Houston on Thursday night in Salt Lake City.
The contest is a campus game opening the Fort Myers Tip-Off. Utah will head to Florida on Monday to face Georgia Tech in the event’s semifinal round. Sam Houston will face Northern Illinois in the same tournament on Tuesday.
The Utes (3-0) faced a stiff challenge from Idaho State before pulling away for a 70-58 victory over the Bengals on Monday. Branden Carlson powered Utah with 26 points, nine rebounds and four blocks. Through three games, Carlson is averaging 19.7 points, 8.3 rebounds, and three blocks and is the team leader in all three categories.
His all-around effort down the stretch against Idaho State helped the Utes avoid a potentially embarrassing home loss.
“He just stuck with it,” Utah coach Craig Smith said. “It wasn’t pretty for him at times. He kinda made a couple plays that he normally doesn’t make. But he stayed the course, stayed mentally locked in and definitely finished strong for us.”
Sam Houston promises to offer another significant challenge. The Bearkats have already enjoyed success against a Power 5 opponent this season, knocking off Oklahoma 52-51 in their season opener.
Back-to-back home wins over non-Division I opponents have helped Sam Houston (3-0) get off to its best start since the 2013-14 season. Defense has been the main catalyst for success. The Bearkats are allowing just 44 points per game. Their opponents are shooting 26.9 percent from the field.
In an 84-48 win over Division III LeTourneau on Monday, Sam Houston jumped out to a 22-0 lead. The Yellowjackets had 15 turnovers and only 16 points by halftime.
“I thought we came out and played really energetic and with a lot of enthusiasm and our effort got us off to a good start,” Bearkats coach Jason Hooten said. “Our senior leadership was evident there.”
This is the first meeting between Utah and Sam Houston.
–Field Level Media