BOISE — Never mind that Boise State was picked to finish last in the Mountain West Conference this year and was returning just one full-time starter from a year ago.
The Broncos still had plenty to overwhelm an inexperienced Utah basketball team that was picked to finish last in the Pac-12, cruising to an 80-59 victory Wednesday night at Taco Bell Arena.
"I don't pay much attention to that," said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak when it was pointed out that the Broncos were picked to finish last in the MWC. "Apparently the Mountain West Conference is 20 points better than the Pac-12."
Twenty-one, but who's counting.
The Broncos actually looked more than 21 points better than the Utes, who have practically a whole new team to work with this year.
Boise's lead hit 21 in the first half and grew to as much as 28 early in the second half, before the Utes started finding the basket behind freshman Anthony Odunsi and senior Josh Watkins and make the score somewhat respectable.
Watkins led the Utes again with 19 points, while Odunsi scored 14 and Dijon Farr had 12.
The Utes had no answer for BSU freshman Anthony Drmic, who played for the Australian Institute of Sport where former Ute Andrew Bogut once played.
All week, the Ute coaches had stressed getting out on Drmic and Drew Wiley, the Broncos' two best shooters, but the Ute defenders were consistently a step late, especially early in the game.
Drmic, who finished with 23 points on 5 of 8 from 3-point range, made 4 of 5 in the first half when the Broncos put the game away. And Wiley finished with 3 of 5 from behind the arc and 11 points on the night, the same as Ryan Watkins.
For the game, the Broncos made 10 of 18 from 3-point range.
"They got those threes up pretty quick," said Krystkowiak. "There were three guys on the floor we couldn't give open looks to and the next thing you know they hit about six threes and were up by 19 points. So that's a little bit of a letdown that we didn't pay much attention to the game plan and attention to detail."
After falling behind 19-6, the Utes made their best run of the night, scoring eight straight points to pull within five with 7:44 left in the half.
But it was all downhill from there.
Drmic hit back-to-back 3-pointers spurring a 20-4 run by the Broncos, which broke the game open for good.
Odunsi scored eight points in a 77-second stretch midway through the second half, including two 3-pointers, but at the end of his flurry, the Utes still trailed by 23.
The Utes didn't get much from their inside men as Jason Washburn finished with five points and six rebounds, while starting forward Blake Wilkinson had no points or rebounds in just nine minutes.
The Utes return home to play Montana State Saturday afternoon (1 p.m..) at the Huntsman Center.
GAME NOTES: The Utes had 19 turnovers on the night, compared to eight for the Broncos. ... Boise won the rebound battle 32-25. ... Chris Hines, who has been out with a rib injury, played and scored three points in 11 minutes. ... The Utes are now 3-2 all-time against the Broncos, with all three wins coming in Salt Lake and the two losses in Boise. ... Last year, the Utes came from 16 points down in the second half to beat the Broncos 86-84 on a 3-pointer by Will Clyburn with 11 seconds left.
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