PARK CITY In scouting Park City earlier this season in preparation for Wednesday's preseason game, Morgan coach Jim Wiscombe couldn't help but notice the Miners struggled with protecting the basketball.
That's why whether it was with the full-court or half-court variety, Wiscombe figured putting defensive pressure on Park City was his team's ticket to victory.
Sure enough, Morgan forced Park City into 19 turnovers and limited its former region rivals to 30 percent shooting in a convincing 57-41 victory Wednesday night.
"We watched them play down at Emery, and they weren't a real good passing team," said Wiscombe. "We were a little quicker than them, and we figured the faster the tempo of the game the better it was for us."
Morgan's Nate Porter finished with 16 points to lead a balanced scoring attack in which no other player scored in double figures.
Eight of those points came in the opening quarter as the Trojans raced to a 16-7 lead by limiting Park City to a paltry 2-of-11 shooting. Morgan maintained that 7-to-10-point cushion throughout the rest of the first half and deep into the third quarter. That's when Park City's Ryan Papez almost single-handedly pulled his team back into the game.
With under three minutes remaining in the third, Papez whittled Morgan's lead to 39-34 on back-to-back three-point plays, the first the old fashioned way and the second on a long-range shot from behind the arc.
Morgan responded with a 6-0 run to close the quarter by forcing Park City into four turnovers in its final five possessions. The Trojans extended the lead to as many as 19 in the fourth quarter.
"I think we wore them out," said Wiscombe.
The win halted Morgan's mini two-game losing skid and improved its record to 5-4.
"It was a good victory for us. We'll take any wins on the road we can get," said Wiscombe, whose team shot 41 percent from the field.
In the loss, Ryan Papez led the Miners with 15 points as his team fell to 3-5 on the season under first-year coach Jim Boyce.
Considering that Park City won just four games all of last season, Boyce has the program headed in the right direction.As for a Morgan team that had no significant varsity experience coming back this year, Wiscombe is pleased with the game-to-game maturity his players are showing.