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Utah basketball: Runnin' Utes cruise past UC Davis by 34 points

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 2 2015 11:48 a.m. MDT

University of Utah's Ahmad Fields shoots the ball during a basketball game against UC Davis at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) University of Utah's Ahmad Fields shoots the ball during a basketball game against UC Davis at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY — It's tough to find much fault when your basketball team blows out an opponent by 34 points.

But Utah men's head coach Larry Krystkowiak still saw some room for improvement despite the Utes' impressive 94-60 victory over UC Davis on Friday night at the Huntsman Center.

"We got a little bit sloppy with the ball," he said after his team dismantled the visiting Aggies from the Big West Conference. "The nine turnovers in the first half that led to the 11 (UC Davis) points, that puts a lot of pressure on your team. ... Just silly things that you can't shoot ourselves in the foot.

"Execution-wise, we're gonna have to get a little bit more crisp. ... Really, at this point, there's nothing that we don't need to get better at and I don't think there's a real glaring weakness for us right now, but it's just continually trying to improve in a lot of different areas."

University of Utah's Delon Wright shoots the ball during a basketball game against UC Davis at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) University of Utah's Delon Wright shoots the ball during a basketball game against UC Davis at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

Utah's inside-outside tandem of sophomore guard Brandon Taylor and Brazilian big man Renan Lenz led the way. Taylor scored 21 points on the strength of 4-of-6 shooting from 3-point range, while Lenz scored 20 points on some superb 9-of-11 shooting. He also had six rebounds and three blocks.

Jordan Loveridge added a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 15 rebounds, and Delon Wright contributed 12 points, nine boards and six assists for Utah (2-0), which shot more than 60 percent from the field.

Brynton Lemar scored 14 points and Josh Ritchart and Corey Hawkins each had 11 for the Aggies (1-2), who shot just 33.8 percent from the field and were outrebounded by a whopping 49-27 margin.

Led by Taylor and Lenz, the Utes jumped out to a quick 15-2 lead, and it looked like they were going to blow the Aggies right out of the building. But UC Davis responded with an 11-2 run of its own to pull within 17-13 and climb right back into contention.

University of Utah's Brandon Taylor looks to make a pass around UC Davis' Corey Hawkins during a basketball game at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) University of Utah's Brandon Taylor looks to make a pass around UC Davis' Corey Hawkins during a basketball game at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

Then it was Utah's turn again, as the Utes staged a 13-4 spurt to open up another double-digit lead at 30-17, only to see the Aggies again rally with a 12-4 run, trimming the gap to 34-29 with 3:57 remaining in the first half.

But Utah would have none of that, as Taylor drained a pair of 3s and Lenz threw down a put-back dunk to fuel an 11-0 run to finish the half, putting the Utes up 45-29 at intermission.

"We had a couple of those stretches where we opened up a lead and then it was kinda new territory for us where the turnovers, I thought, hurt us," Krystkowiak said. "We were doing a heck of a job guarding. They had 29 points in the first half, and 11 of those were off our turnovers. It kind of took a little air out of our sails."

Utah never looked back after halftime, quickly extending its lead to 20 points, and then 28, and finally as much as 36 points in the final five minutes.

University of Utah's Brandon Taylor shoots the ball during a basketball game against UC Davis at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. Utah won 94-60. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News) University of Utah's Brandon Taylor shoots the ball during a basketball game against UC Davis at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Friday, Nov. 15, 2013. Utah won 94-60. (Kristin Murphy, Deseret News)

"I thought our defense was pretty good," Krystkowiak said. "I want the identity of our team to be our defense and the focus that we have. ... We want to be known as a good defensive team.

"Typically when you're play defense like that, for a lot of reasons, it makes your offense a lot easier."

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