Utah Utes basketball: Big guys ready to take on some tall timber
Tom Smart, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — Most games, Ute centers David Foster and Jason Washburn are looking down at their opponents, who are sometimes as much as six to eight inches smaller.
For a change, they'll be playing against someone their own size tonight (7 p.m.) when Montana comes to town for a game at the Huntsman Center.
The Grizzlies, who went to the NCAA Tournament last year after knocking off Weber State in the Big Sky tournament, are led by 6-11 Brian Qvale and 7-foot forward Derek Selvig, who both start on the frontline.
"Both of these guys are very skilled strong big men, who can shoot the ball, who are both really good passers," said the 7-foot Washburn, who is expected to start at center for Utah.
"It looks like the two bigs know how to play with each other very well," added Foster, last year's starter at center. The 7-3 Foster has been hampered by a sore knee this fall, but is expected to play.
Montana, which went 22-10 last year, is coming off an 81-66 loss at Nevada in a game they led by two at halftime.
"They're a veteran team that's been to the tournament with two terrific inside guys," said Ute coach Jim Boylen. "Qvale is a post-up 5, who is a physical presence who can score and may be the best passer in the post we'll play against. Selvig is a 4-5, who can make threes, but also play inside. They're both very skilled and very tough."
Besides those two, the Grizzlies have returning starting guard Will Cherry along with junior guard Shawn Stockton, the nephew of former Jazz star John Stockton. The other starter is expected to be Jordan Wood, a 6-3 guard prepped at Cedar City before playing for Snow College.
Besides Washburn in the middle, the Utes are expected to start JC transfers Josh Watkins and Will Clyburn at guard and sophomore Shawn Glover and freshman J.J. O'Brien at forwards with senior Jay Watkins coming off the bench.
The last time Utah and Montana played was in 1969 when Utah won 109-93 in Salt Lake.
After tonight's game, the Utes will play Weber State at home Saturday night before taking their first road trip, to Logan Wednesday night. The Grizzlies play Montana Tech at home Friday night.
Utes on the air
Montana (0-1) at Utah (1-0)
Today, 7 p.m.Huntsman Center
Radio: 700 AM
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