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SALT LAKE CITY - The University of Utah men's basketball team opened its exhibition season with an 83-40 pasting of Montana Tech Thursday night at the Huntsman Center.
New Runnin' Ute head coach Jim Boylen's first contest ever at the Huntsman Center began with a junior Luke Nevill (Perth, Australia) dunk 13 seconds into the contest and Utah never trailed. The game was tied for just more than one minute when Jeramie Hopson answered for the Orediggers. A 10-0 Utah run was sparked by back-to-back three-pointers from juniors Shaun Green (Salt Lake City) and Tyler Kepkay (Vancouver, B.C.) and the rout was on.
Ute sophomore Stephen Weigh (Rockhampton, Australia) led all scorers with 21 points on 8-of-15 shooting. Nevill chipped in 16 for the Utes, while Green was also in double figures with 11. Green added a game-high six assists for Utah, while sophomore Kim Tillie (Cagnes-sur Mer, France) pulled down a game-high seven rebounds. Utah shot .536 (30-of-56) from the field, including a .440 mark (11-of-25) from beyond the arc. The Runnin' Utes held a 42-20 advantage on the boards.
Hopson led Montana Tech with 13 points. Shea Bradshaw added 11 for the Orediggers, who were 14-of-49 (.286) from the field, including 9-of-26 (.346) from three-point range.
Montana Tech hung around a bit in the first half. The Orediggers pulled within eight, 29-21, with 4:42 remaining. But Utah closed the first half with a 12-3 spurt, capped by a Weigh three-pointer. The Utes took a 41-24 edge into the intermission.
The floodgates really opened for Utah in the second half. Weigh hit a layup less than three minutes into the second period to put the Utes up by 20. Four minutes later junior Lawrence Borha (Staten Island, N.Y.) buried a triple from the corner to make it a 30-point lead. The Ute lead ballooned to as many as 45 points late in the contest.
Every Ute in uniform saw at least one minute of playing time. Eleven Utah players tallied at least one point in the contest.
The Runnin' Utes are in action again Tuesday, hosting an exhibition contest with Northwest Nazarene at the Huntsman Center. The game is slated to begin at 7:30 p.m. and will be the second half of a doubleheader with the women's team. The Utah women will host Fort Lewis College at 5 p.m.