SALT LAKE CITY — Utah got a few things done in its 98-63 win over Mississippi Valley State. Thursday night’s win in the Huntsman Center provided a bounce back from a loss at Minnesota on Monday.
It came with a school-record tying 17 3-points shots and second-half success in the form of outscoring the Delta Devils by a margin of 44-28. The Utes also finished with 23 assists.
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said he was pleased with what he saw as the Utes improved to 2-1 on the season.
“I thought we shared the basketball real well, pretty dialed defensively for about, oh, 90 percent of the game,” he said before noting that MVSU spread the Utes out a little bit.
Parker Van Dyke led Utah with 16 points. Timmy Allen contributed 13, while Riley Battin, Charles Jones and Donnie Tillman finished with 12 apiece.
Van Dyke and Jones each hit four 3-point shots, bolstering a 17 of 36 shooting night beyond the arc for Utah.
“They played a lot of zone. So naturally, I think in the zone you're going to get some open threes, get some open looks,” Van Dyke said. “It was good for me, personally, to knock some down and for our team to kind of just see the ball go through the basket, especially for some of our guys. It just helps with some confidence moving forward because we are going to need guys to step up and hit shots every game. So it was good.”
Utah trailed only once — at 3-2 — before pulling away. The Utes used a 47-25 run to break from a 5-5 tie and win handily. They held MVSU scoreless for more than four minutes at one point en route to building a 54-35 halftime advantage. Battin, Tillman and Van Dyke each had 10 points in the opening half.
After the break, Utah extended its lead to as large as 35 points.
“It’s what we needed,” Krystkowiak said. “Certainly not without mistakes, we’ve got to keep growing here.”
Tillman, who pulled down nine rebounds and dished out seven assists in 17 minutes of action, noted that the Utes were determined to win the final 20 minutes.
“We haven’t won a second half yet,” he said. “So this second half, we took it upon us — we’ve got to rebound, we’ve got to push it, play a lot of pace.’4 comments on this story
The Utes return to action Thursday at the Wooden Legacy tournament in Fullerton, California. They take on Hawaii in the first round Thursday (9:30 p.m., ESPN2). Then comes a meeting with Grand Canyon or Seton Hall on Friday, Nov. 23. The final day of play is Sunday, Nov. 25.
EXTRA STUFF: Krystkowiak announced that Van Dyke, Sedrick Barefield and Beau Rydalch will serve as captains this season . . . The announced attendance was 10,804 . . . The team will take Friday and Sunday off before gearing up for next week’s tournament . . . MVSU guard Jordan Evans entered the game averaging 19 points per game. He went 0 of 11 from the field and made only two free throws.