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ROCKHAMPTON, Australia - What a difference a day makes. The University of Utah men's basketball team stormed back into the win column - and snapped a three-game losing streak - Tuesday, defeating the Rockhampton Rockets of the Australian Basketball Association, 92-71. The Runnin' Utes got out to a quick start and never looked back. Leading 48-32 at the end of the first half, the team pulled ahead by as many as 27 points in the fourth quarter before cruising to the 21-point victory.
Junior center Luke Nevill led the charge for Utah with 34 points and 11 rebounds on 11-of-15 shooting from the field. Playing in front of a large contingent of family and friends, Rockhampton native Stephen Weigh added 15 points and a game-high 14 rebounds, nine of which came in the first half. Senior guard Johnnie Bryant also had a solid night, tallying 17 points and seven rebounds. Rhys Martin recorded 23 points and eight rebounds in a losing effort for the Rockets.
With five games played in the last six days, the Utes will get a well deserved day off Thursday. The final game of the trip will be Friday night against the defending NBL Champion Brisbane Bullets, who will be making the trip to Rockhampton for the game. The contest will tip off at 7:30 p.m. at Hegvold Stadium.
- The Utes limited Rockhampton to 36.4% shooting from the field for the game and held a decisive 51-37 advantage on the boards.
- Stephen Weigh played for the Rockhampton Rockets for two years prior to his stint at the Australian Institute of Sport.
- The team plans to spend the day off tomorrow snorkeling at the Great Barrier Reef near Great Keppel Island.
- The Rockets compete in the Australian Basketball Association, which is one notch below the NBL.
Quotes from Head Coach Jim Boylen
On Stephen Weigh's return home:
"I thought he had great energy tonight. I'm really proud of his 14 rebounds. I have been challenging him to get more boards and become a complete player.
On Luke and JB coming off the bench again:
"My goal for Luke is for him to become a consistent player at both ends of the floor. The last two games, he has showed more grit and determination to try and become the best player he can be. Johnnie seems to be embracing the role of coming off the bench and has played better as a result. I thought he did a better job of leading us tonight."
On the team's defense tonight:
"The emphasis from day one of practice was for us to become more of a defensive team. We need to take more pride in our defense individually and as a team. I think we took another baby step in that direction tonight."
On what he wants to get done the rest of the trip:
"I'm thankful for the off day tomorrow, but I'm looking forward to playing against the NBL Champions from Brisbane. It will be a great opportunity to play against the best team in the country and see where we stack up. One of the main draws for going on this trip was the high caliber of competition we would be facing. Playing against teams with such skilled, veteran players is only going to make us tougher."