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There were the gray sweaters worn by the entire Utah coaching staff. There was the uniform tribute to Rick Majerus, his initials sown into the middle of each collar. And, of course, there was the pregame video tribute to one of the most successful coaches the Ute program has ever known.
With many of his former players in the building on Wednesday night, the spirit of Majerus was no doubt in the Huntsman Center. And where it mattered most on the floor Utah played the type of complete game that would've forced the intense coach to crack a smile, if only a fleeting one.
Before one of its largest crowds of the season 7,896 the Utes defeated Boise State 76-55, dominating from start to finish and never letting the Broncos come close once they took initial control. In winning its sixth game of the year as many as Utah won last season the Utes took home a stunning result.
"We felt like coach Majerus was with us all night. He was right on the bench with us, smiling down," senior center Jason Washburn said. "We talked about giving our best, and giving a complete performance. This was a Rick Majerus type of game. We hope that we made him proud."
Defensively, Utah suffocated a Boise State team that entered Wednesday's matchup with four 80-point performances on its résumé. Against the Utes, however, the Broncos put forth a season low on the scoreboard.
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak called it a bit of a perfect storm. His Utes were a motivated bunch because of Majerus' passing. But they were also a confident group coming off a successful close to last week's Texas road trip and a full three days of practice that he called the three best of the season.
That, combined with a complex scouting report, caused this team to believe it had a good opportunity to beat a Broncos team that had beaten nationally ranked Creighton on the road by double digits and had forced Big 10 power Michigan State to the brink in Lansing.
"We thought we had a chance to be successful if we did some things right," Krystkowiak said. "The guys deserve a lot of credit. They were scrappy on defense, and they executed well offensively. It was a very good effort out there tonight."
Senior guard Jarred DuBois once again led the way for Utah, scoring a game-high 18 points and handing out three assists. Washburn, continuing his strong play off the bench lately, scored 13 points and grabbed six rebounds. Freshman forward Jordan Loveridge added 11 points and five rebounds.
The diminutive Glen Dean may have become the biggest story with his play, though. The point guard struggled mightily last week in Texas. On Wednesday, the Seattle native turned in his best performance of the season. He scored eight points, but grabbed nine rebounds and handed out six assists, running the offense with aplomb. Utah shot 67.5 percent from the field. The Utes made 9 of 16 from 3-point range and outrebounded the Broncos 31-18.
"Coach told us that the guards need to step in and rebound the ball," Dean said. "We had to stick our noses in there as well and help out the big men."
Afterwards, players and coaches talked about the win, deeming it the biggest of Krystkowiak's tenure. Utah has won four consecutive games at home for the first time since 2009. It was the largest win against a Division I opponent for the Utes since beating Southern University 88-48, also in 2009.
"This team has a lot of talent," DuBois said. "Now, we have to believe in each other and believe that we can come out and be competitive."
Utah 76, Boise St. 55
R Utah takes control with a 14-0 first-half run.
• Jarred DuBois leads all scorers with 18 points.
• The Utes now have six wins, the same number they had all of last season.
Utah 76, Boise State 55
BOISE ST. (6-2) • Watkins 4-6 0-2 8, Marks 7-16 3-4 18, Drmic 1-6 0-0 3, Elorriaga 0-1 0-0 0, Hadziomerovic 2-6 0-0 6, Thompson 5-15 5-8 16, Hanstad 1-1 0-0 2, Vujovic 0-0 0-0 0, Bropleh 1-1 0-0 2, Hamilton 0-0 0-0 0, Buckner 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-52 8-14 55.
UTAH (6-2) • Dean 3-5 1-1 8, DuBois 5-10 6-6 18, Loveridge 5-8 0-0 11, Bachynski 0-1 0-0 0, Martin 2-2 4-5 9, Seymour 0-0 0-0 0, Lenz 2-2 0-0 5, Taylor 0-0 0-0 0, Tucker 2-3 0-0 6, Washburn 6-6 1-2 13, Dotson 2-3 1-2 6. Totals 27-40 13-16 76. HalftimeUtah 41-25. 3-Point GoalsBoise St. 5-12 (Hadziomerovic 2-3, Marks 1-2, Thompson 1-3, Drmic 1-4), Utah 9-16 (Tucker 2-3, DuBois 2-4, Martin 1-1, Lenz 1-1, Dean 1-2, Dotson 1-2, Loveridge 1-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsBoise St. 18 (Buckner 3), Utah 31 (Dean 9). AssistsBoise St. 6 (Marks, Thompson 2), Utah 20 (Dean 6). Total FoulsBoise St. 18, Utah 14. TechnicalMarks. A7,896.