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November 22, 2013

Utes trounce Grand Canyon

Thursday night the Runnin' Utes took on the Grand Canyon Antelopes, a team whose claim to fame is having former NBA great Dan Majerle as their head coach. In reality, Grand Canyon was the Utes' stiffest completion they have had their first three games, but the Utes still won easily as they improved to 3-0 after a 79 to 54 drubbing of the new D1 school.

"I think they were more up than us. It was definitely-out of the teams we've played-the best defense that we've seen so far and they definitely seemed more athletic out on every position," said [db]Jordan Loveridge[/db].

The Utah attack was once again led by the usual suspects, [db]Delon Wright[/db] and Loveridge. Loveridge was one basket shy of a double-double by halftime, he finished with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Wright made all eight of his shot attempts and provided plenty of jaw-dropping plays on his way to 17 points, five rebounds, four assists, and three steals. He did not sit until the 12-minute mark of the second half.

Wright only took one shot in the second half after starting the game on fire. As has been the case in the other two games, that did not matter because he effects the game in so many ways. "We had a good lead, so I kind of let everyone else do their thing," explained Wright.

The Utes started strong out of the gate scoring the first 11 points before Grand Canyon got on the board around five minutes into the game with a basket by Jerome Garrison. "I think it started on the defensive end. You know, we got some stops and then it just made our offense easier," said Loveridge.

The strong start on the defensive end carried on throughout the game as the Utes held the Antelope to 32.8% shooting on the night.

"We've talked about it a lot with our team, I want our identity to be built off of our defense and you know, getting stops and knowing that the game becomes easier heading the other direction if we can do that," said Utah Head Coach [db]Larry Krystkowiak[/db] Our guys have been really locked in to guard and we can't be the type of team that needs to see the ball go in the basket in order to get energized."

While the bulk of the scoring came from the Utes' big two, [db]Dakari Tucker[/db] (six points) hit back-to-back threes in the first half while [db]Brandon Taylor[/db] (seven points) and [db]Parker Van Dyke[/db] (12 points) provided scoring in spurts in the second half.

On the night the Utes shot 51.8% from the field and outrebounded the Antelopes 49 to 33. Negatives on the night were 15 turnovers-three more than Grand Canyon- and 53.6% free-throw shooting. "The fact that we're missing over half of our free-throws is not a good thing," claimed Krystkowiak.

The Utes now face a quick turnaround in their Global Sports Hoop Showcase as they face the Lamar Cardinals at 7:00 on Friday night.

So far for Krystkowiak and the team, the season has felt like a football schedule with one game per week, now the schedule is ramping up with three games in three nights. "It's a little different feeling, it a challenge for our staff and our guys, but having some depth I think will help and obviously playing at home will help-sleeping in our own beds," he said.

Preparation for the early season tournament has been unique as the Utes already know who they will be playing each night. "You're still a little bit early in the season where you don't have a whole lot of film on teams, but when it comes to our staff we've divided up coaches that have been studying the tape (of all three opponents)," said Krystkowiak.



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