Lawson Lovering scored 18 points, Branden Carlson added 16 and Utah (2-0) used a massive first half to earn an 82-53 victory over visiting UC Riverside (1-1) on Friday night in Salt Lake City.
Cole Bajema chipped in 13 points, Ben Carlson contributed 11 off the bench and reserve Rollie Worster dished out seven assists to go with six points to help lift the Utes. Keba Keita also reached double figures with 10 points.
Isaiah Moses led UC Riverside with 12 points and Benjamin Griscti had 10 during a rough outing for the visitors. The Highlanders only shot 30.8 percent as a team compared to 48.5 percent by Utah.
Utah used multiple double-digit scoring streaks to surge ahead by as many as 37 points before clearing the bench for most of the second half.
Jhaylon Martinez’s jumper gave the Highlanders an early 2-0 lead, but it was all Utah after that. By the time UCR scored again seven minutes later, the Utes had reeled off 17 consecutive points.
Worster bookended the game-changing run with a jumper to tie it at 2-2 and a pair of free throws that put Utah up 17-2.
The Utes used a 10-point surge later in the first half to seize a commanding 29-6 lead.
UC Riverside didn’t reach double figures in scoring until Kaleb Smith hit a 3-pointer with 6 1/2 minutes left in the contest.
The Utes went into the locker room ahead 48-13. That total was the lowest allowed in any half in Utah coach Craig Smith’s three seasons and the fewest points allowed in a first half since Arizona State only managed 10 in 2016.
Worster gave Utah its biggest lead, 53-16, on a layup a minute-and-a-half into the second half.
Lovering and Keita each grabbed seven boards as Utah decisively won the rebounding battle 52-30.
–Field Level Media
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