Josh Grant scored 22 points in just 26 minutes of play to lead the University of Utah to a 97-63 victory over the Belgian Gent club team in an exhibition game Wednesday night in the Huntsman Center.
Grant, who scored 16 points in the first half alone, made 9 of 16 shots from the field and had eight rebounds, four steals, three assists and two blocked shots.Gent, which lost to Southern Utah State and BYU the previous two nights, scored the game's first basket, but Utah scored the next two and never trailed again. The Utes built a 14-point lead in the first half, and led 45-36 at halftime. They led by as many as 34 points late in the second half.
"We just wore them down," said Utah coach Rick Majerus. "They had only eight guys, and they were playing their third game in three nights . . . This was not an earth-shattering effort on our part."
Indeed, Majerus, whose team officially opens the season against Cal-Davis on Nov. 24, was anything but pleased with his team's performance.
"We played with selfishness in the first half, and we'll certainly address that tomorrow," said Majerus. "We had only eight assists in the first half. Our most potent offensive weapon, Josh Grant, was the most unselfish guy out there."
M'Kay McGrath, playing despite shin splints, had 16 points and seven rebounds. Bryon Wilson, still not fully recovered from a hip injury, had 11 points. Phil Dixon, playing for the first time since falling through a window last December, played 19 minutes and scored 11 points, hitting five of nine shots. Walter Watts came off the bench to get eight points and eight rebounds.
Gent was led by Willy Oelbrandt (14 points) and Mark Wade (12 points, 11 rebounds).
Majerus complained about the Utes' 16 turnovers and their injury situation. "This is our first scrimmage (since an exhibition game a week earlier)," he said, "because we just don't have enough players. The margin of victory was not indicative of the quality of play. I'm very discouraged. We're out of shape, but we can't scrimmage."
Two Utah players did not play in Wednesday's game because of injuries - Craig Rydalch and Paul Afeaki. The Utes still managed to play 13 players, and all but two of them scored.