Kids are alright
Bogut outduels Humphries as Utes down Gophers in NIT quarters
Posted: Thursday November 20, 2003 1:11AM; Updated: Thursday November 20, 2003 1:51AM
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- If the inexperienced Utah Utes are a work in progress, they might have something really special by the end of the season.
"We're young and we're making lots of mistakes but I already see improvement. We have a long way to go but I like this team," Utah coach Rick Majerus said.
Freshman Andrew Bogut had 19 points and 18 rebounds as Utah defeated Minnesota 66-54 Wednesday in the second round of the Preseason NIT.
"We got a lot better from the first game to the second. If the rest of us can keep improving and Andrew can continue to play like that, we have a chance to be really good," said Nick Jacobson, who had 13 points and is one of only two upperclassmen on the team.
In a matchup of two of the most heralded freshmen in the country, Bogut, a 6-foot-10 forward from Australia, made 8 of 9 shots and helped hold Minnesota freshman Kris Humphries to just one basket in the final 16:41 of the game.
"It's not often you see two freshmen play like that this early in the season. Those are two very good players," Majerus said.
Humphries finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds but made just 3 of 9 shots in the second half. Michael Bauer scored 12 points for Minnesota (1-1).
Justin Hawkins and Richard Chaney each had nine for the Utes (2-0), who overcame 20 turnovers with a 40-28 rebounding advantage and suffocating man-to-man defense.
"Utah makes it so tough for a team to get into their offense and make easy baskets. They made us settle for jump shots," said Minnesota coach Dan Monson.
Bogut, who is the first Utah freshman since Keith Van Horn to have more than 10 points and rebounds in each of his first two games, had two inside baskets in a 9-2 surge that put the game out of reach.
"You can't fall behind a team like that. They play too good of defense to give you any chance of getting back into it," Monson said.
Bogut made a twisting layup with 3:00 remaining and the Utes led 58-47 to assure themselves a trip to the NIT semifinals in New York next week, where Utah will play the winner of Friday's Massachusetts-Texas Tech game.
"This is what we've been working for all summer. We have all dreamed of a chance of playing in Madison Square Garden with all that history and tradition," Jacobson said.
After Chris Jackson made a layup to put Utah ahead 45-33, Maurice Hargrow had four points in a 10-2 run. The Gophers held the Utes to a single field goal for more than seven minutes but could not draw closer than four points.
"We are a work in progress. We are so young that it's going to take us a few games to get things flowing," Jacobson said.
While Bogut had 11 points and 10 rebounds in the first half, Humphries scored 14 to keep Minnesota within 32-21 at halftime. The rest of the Gophers shot 3 of 16 in the half.
The game was the first between the teams since 1959.