Utah basketball: Princeton Onwas comes off the bench to lead Runnin' Utes to victory
SALT LAKE CITY — Princeton Onwas has one of the great names in college basketball. But more than his name, the University of Utah expects big things from the junior college transfer on the floor this year.
After showing little in three blowout victories, Onwas came up big Friday night in the Utes' 84-57 victory over Lamar at the Huntsman Center, matching his entire season total in points, while surpassing his season totals in rebounds and assists.
The 6-foot-5 forward from Navarro (Texas) College scored 12 points on 6 of 7 shooting, grabbed 10 rebounds, handed out three assists and had three steals for the Utes, who improved to 4-0 on the season.
“Princeton gave us a boost off the bench,’’ said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak. “Three assists, three steals — the only thing negative on the entire stat sheet was the missed free throw. He brings us something athletically ... something a little different to the table. He got out in transition with some of the dunks (that) were fun and he provided a spark.’’
Onwas hasn’t been 100 percent due to an ankle injury, but he felt much better Friday, saying, “I just tried to be real aggressive. I think Coach Krystkowiak starting trusting me more now that I’m healthier.’’
Onwas was one of several players who sparked the Utes off the bench as freshman Kenneth Ogbe had a pair of 3-pointers, freshman Parker Van Dyke had four assists and Dallin Bachynski had four points, five rebounds, three assists, and perhaps the first behind-the-back dribble on a fast break by a 7-footer in the history of basketball.
“I think our depth made an impact this evening,’’ said Krystkowiak. “It wasn’t long ago we didn’t have that luxury, but now we have some depth and we want to take advantage of it.’’
Utah got off to a slow start, only leading by six at halftime, 34-28, before turning it on in the second half. Jordan Loveridge, who led the team with 14 points, scored seven quick points, while Delon Wright scored six and the Utes pushed the lead to 15 at 49-34 in the first five minutes of the second half. By the midway point of the half, it was 63-40 and the Utes cruised from there.
“We were a little lethargic offensively early on and kicked ourselves in the foot with our turnovers,’’ Krystkowiak said. “We talked at halftime about getting out and pushing the tempo and we were able to do that.’’
Other players in double figures for Utah were Renan Lenz with 12 and Wright with 10.
Lamar was led by Rhon Mitchell off the bench with 17 points and Nimrod Hilliard — another great name in college basketball — with 16.
The Utes play the final game of the three-day of the Global Sports Hoops Showcase Saturday at 5 p.m. against 2-5 Savannah State
UTE NOTES: In Friday’s first game, Grand Canyon edged Savannah State 72-71 on two free throws by Killian Larson with two seconds left. ... Utah had played Lamar just once in history prior to Friday, losing at home 66-58 in 1981. ... Lamar’s coach is Pat Knight, the son of former Indiana and Texas Tech coach Bobby Knight. The younger Knight also coached at Texas Tech, where he complied a 50-61 record in three-plus seasons. At Lamar he is 26-43 in his third season. ... Knight called two timeouts in the first 58 seconds of the second half, 21 seconds apart. ... Utah shot 69 percent from the field in the second half after just 41.2 percent in the first half. ... The Utes had 24 assists on 34 baskets. ... Officials called just eight fouls total in first half and 20 for the game as the teams combined for 21 free throws.
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