Dec. 2, 1997
CHICAGO - Andre Miller scored eight of his 11 points in a first-half run as 10th-ranked Utah opened an eight-point halftime lead and went on to a 64-58 victory over Providence in the Great Eight Classic at the United Center in Chicago.
Hanno Mottola finished with 17 points and Michael Doleac 13 for the Utes (6-0), who were eliminated by Kentucky in the West Regional final of the NCAA Tournament. This two-day event features seven of the eight schools that reached the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament.
Ben Perkins scored 15 points and Jamel Thomas added 14 for Providence (2-2), which has lost its last two games. The Friars reached the Southeast Regional finals as a 10th seed last season before losing in overtime to eventual champion Arizona.
The Friars took their final lead of the game at 21-20 following a layup by Perkins with 8:17 left in the first half. But Miller keyed a 15-4 run as Utah took control.
Jon Carlisle followed the miss of a free throw by Miller with a layup and before Miller hit an 11-foot jumper to give Utah a 24-21 lead. Miller followed his own miss to make it a five-point game with 5:28 left before Kendrick Moore and Mottola traded jumpers.
Carlisle and Llewellyn Cole exchanged foul shots before the 6-2 Miller had a tip-in to bump the margin to 31-24 with 3:39 left in the first half. Erron Maxey hit a free throw, but committed goaltending on a shot by Mottola before Miller hit two free throws to cap the run and give Utah a 35-25 lead with 2:17 to go.
In the second half, Providence used a 6-0 burst to close within 45-44 on a three-pointer by Perkins with 9:29 remaining. But Moore fouled Doleac, who made two free throws to restore the lead to three.
Providence missed its next three shots before a foul shot by Thomas made it 47-45 at the 8:21 mark. Mottola followed a miss by Ben Caton with a three-point play. The Friars continued to go cold, missing four more shots before Caton hit a free throw to give Utah a 51-45 advantage with 6:13 to play.
David Jackson hit two free throws and Doleac added one to cap the run, staking the Utes to a 54-45 bulge with 5:25 remaining. Providence came no closer than five points down the stretch.
Mottola also pulled down nine rebounds for the Utes, who shot 44 percent (22-of-50) from the field. Utah held a 43-17 edge in rebounds and outscored the Friars 28-16 in the paint.
Moore scored 12 points for Providence, which shot 41 percent (21-of-51) from the field, including 7-of-16 from three-point range. The Friars, who scored 22 points off 21 Utah turnovers, had just two fast-break points.