SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Jakob Poeltl scored 19 points and had 11 rebounds as Utah easily dispatched Idaho State 102-72 Friday night. The 7-foot sophomore has 51 points in the last two games after setting a career-high Sunday.
The Bengals (2-3) were simply overmatched by a Utah (5-1) team with better athletes and the best player on the floor in Poeltl. The Utes led 57-28 at halftime and never looked back.
“Idaho State hit five of its first seven shots, a couple deep threes, a cutter from out of bounds, so yeah that wasn’t how it was supposed to start.” Utah head coach larry Krystkowiak said. “Once we started defending and getting some stops, they’re a little bit of an undersized team so we managed to gain the advantage inside with Jakob [Poeltl] and Kyle [Kuzma]. We hit as many threes as we’ve hit all season, it was a nice combination overall.”
The 57-point first half was the highest scoring 20 minutes of the season by the Utes.
“At first we struggled a little bit with their zone,” Poeltl said. “We were just standing around and moving the ball and didn’t do much. We started it out by playing some better defense which got us running a little. We started finding holes in the zone and we were hitting our shots and that’s really how we ran away.”
Kyle Kuzma scored 17 for the Utes and matched a career-high 12 rebounds. Teammate Gabe Bealer added 12 points on 5-for-5 shooting from the floor. Poeltl also had four blocks, two steals and two assists.
Ali Faruq-Bey scored a game-high 18 for Idaho State, but didn’t get a ton of help otherwise. The Bengals shot 37.7 percent from the field while the Utes shot 59.0 percent.
“Well we watched enough video on [Ali] Faruq-Bey from their team, who basically scores a point a minute,” Krystowiak said. “It’s like the old “Microwave” on the Pistons — he had been coming off the bench, but he started in this game. Brandon closed out short on him a couple of times, that was six points, then they threw a nice wrinkle from an inbounds play and got a layup. But we weren’t as dialed in as we needed to be. But I think we did a terrific job guarding the dribble and our bigs did a very solid job of protecting the rim and getting a couple blocks. We just needed a little spur action.”
Utah moved to 26-4 all-time against the Bengals. It marks the fifth straight win over Idaho State dating back to 2009. The Utes moved to 18-0 all-time against the Bengals in the Huntsman Center.
Utah’s next contest is Wednesday night in a home date against rival BYU. Tipoff is 8 p.m. at the Huntsman Center.
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