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3 keys to Sam Houston’s 65-55 upset win over Utah basketball

The Runnin’ Utes sputtered on offense most of the night and were upset 65-55 by Sam Houston of the Western Athletic Conference on Thursday night at the Huntsman Center.

Sam Houston’s Quay Grant took over in the final minutes and finished with a game-high 22 points as the Bearkats (4-0) stayed unbeaten. Utah dropped to 3-1 with the loss. They will play in Florida next at the Fort Myers Tip-Off against Georgia Tech on Monday.

Here are three keys to Sam Houston’s second win over a Power Five program, having upset Oklahoma in their opener in Norman:

• The Bearkats forced 16 Utah turnovers and kept Utes big man Branden Carlson in check to spring the mild upset. Sam Houston out-rebounded the bigger Utes 41-31 and got 26 points in the paint to Utah’s 20.

• A night after scoring a game-high 26 points in Utah’s 70-58 win over Idaho State, Carlson did not score in the first half and took just two shots before the break. He picked up his first field goal with 13:03 remaining with a dunk off a lob from Rollie Worster and finished with nine points. Fellow big man Ben Carlson did not score in 13 minutes.

Worster started at point guard and gave Utah some early scoring punch with seven points in the first half. But he committed three first-half turnovers, part of Utah’s 11 giveaways in the first 20 minutes. Worster finished with a team-high 14 for Utah.

• Sam Houston started fast and took a 21-9 lead in the first half before the Utes found some offensive traction. Marco Anthony made his 2022-23 debut off the bench and spurred a 10-2 Utes run that closed the gap to 27-23 at halftime. 

But Utah never caught the visitors in the second half, despite getting within a point midway through the half.

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