SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Lorenzo Bonam scored 17 points as Utah eased past Concordia 96-53 on Tuesday evening.
Utah put the game away early in the first half with a 19-2 run that pushed the lead to 32-11. The Utes shot 51.4 percent in the first 20 minutes and improved their ball control from the first game with just three first-half turnovers.
”With as many new faces as we have, (Kyle Kuzma) and Lorenzo and some of those guys are doing a pretty good job of expressing how important some of those (details) are. We just need to trust the process. It’s written in our practice facility to trust a lot of things. Can’t get too up and too down, but we’ve just got to keep making improvements.”
Bonam bounced back from a horrific seven-turnover opener with just one against Concordia. Kuzma finished with 13 points and eight rebounds and Tyler Rawson added 12 points and eight rebounds. Parker Van Dyke scored a career-high 15 to go along with five rebounds and four assists.
”It’s been a long time coming,” said Van Dyke, who missed the last two seasons due to a Mormon mission trip. ”It’s almost been three years since my first game as a freshman. It’s good to be back and it’s good to make some shots tonight and play some good D. I think tonight was just a good game for my confidence and prepared me for the rest of the year.”
The Cavaliers were simply overmatched in every way. They didn’t have the athleticism to keep up physically and outrebounded 51-33. Concordia weren’t skilled enough and shot just 32 percent from the field, including 5 for 17 from beyond the 3-point line.
Christopher Edward scored a team-high 12 points for the Cavaliers while Latrell Wilson chipped in nine points.
”When we come up and play a Pac-12 team, it’s a great opportunity to test ourselves on a significant road trip in a great environment,” Concordia coach Brad Barbarick said. ”It’s a great experience for our kids playing on the Pac-12 Network. All of those things are positives for our program in recruiting.
”Whenever we can get our name out there in a game like this, it just helps us (with) name recognition and the opportunity to establish ourselves a little bit more. We’re new to D2. This is our second year in the GNAC. We were NAIA for a long time. … For us to step up and play here at Utah, that’s a great experience for our kids and it’s great for our program.”
Concordia: Tuesday was all about experience for the Division II program. The game is just an exhibition for the Cavaliers, who were fighting an uphill battle from the opening tip.
Utah: The Utes are still developing into what type of team they’re going to be with just two significant returners on the roster. The first four games are simply warmups that include two Division II programs while Utah finds its identity.
Krystkowiak doesn’t seem concerned about any strength of schedule issues due to opening the season with a pair of Division II teams and Coppin State.
”With our team, there needs to be a sense of confidence that you’re gaining,” Krystkowiak said. ”You don’t want to get pummeled. That can be pretty dangerous.
”You do what you think’s best in the scheduling. And I thought in this particular year, things are going to start amping up. … That’s the key for us, to try to get firing on some more cylinders and get prepared for league play.”
Concordia: The Cavaliers play California-San Diego Friday in the Doubletree Shootout.
Utah: The Utes host Coppin State on Friday as they wrap up an opening stretch of with three games in six days.
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