Utah defeats Ball State 88-69
SALT LAKE CITY (AP)
Delon Wright put his stamp on both ends of the court, scoring 23 points on 9-of-11 shooting, dishing out seven assists and grabbing five steals to lead Utah to an 88-69 victory over Ball State on Wednesday night.
Princeton Onwas added 13 points and 10 rebounds in his first start and Brandon Taylor chipped in 17 points and five assists to keep the Utes (6-0) perfect on the season.
Zavier Turner had 15 points - all in the second half - and Jesse Berry added 13 for Ball State. The Cardinals (2-3) never could get closer than six points after halftime.
Ball State pulled within eight 66-58 after Majok Majok converted a 3-point play with 8:08 remaining in the game. Utah put the hammer down and put the game out of reach quickly. Dallin Bachynski had dunks on back-to-back possessions to spark a decisive 17-9 run. Wright capped the run with a dunk that gave the Utes an 83-67 lead with 2:24 left.
Utah dominated in the paint, outscoring the Cardinals 44-24. The Utes also imposed their will in transition, outscoring Ball State 16-2 in fast-break points and scoring 18 points off 15 turnovers. Utah shot 32 of 57 (56.1 percent) from the field overall.
Ball State struggled to deal with the quickness of Utah's guards from the early minutes. In a 23-second span, the Utes forced consecutive turnovers to score three quick baskets.
Onwas drove for a layup to start the sequence. Seconds later, Wright stole the ball from Franko House to set up his own short jumper. Then he came back down and ripped the ball away from Turner and fed Taylor for an uncontested layup.
It was enough to give Utah a quick 12-3 lead. The Utes continued to maintain a comfortable lead over Ball State throughout the half. Wright ignited a 12-4 run with back-to-back baskets and Dakari Tucker capped it off with a 3-pointer - giving Utah 32-17 lead with 4:34 left before halftime.
Ball State did manage to close the gap a little bit. Back-to-back 3-pointers from House brought the Cardinals within nine at 34-25 with 2:20 left in the half.
Once Turner finally found his shot in the second half, Ball State mounted a serious rally. The Cardinals erased a 15-point deficit, climbing to within seven on a 12-4 run fueled by three straight baskets from Turner. After Majok capped the run by converting a 3-point play, Ball State just trailed 54-47.
Wright once again gave Utah some extra breathing room. He turned an outlet pass from Jordan Loveridge into a dunk and then hit a 3-pointer on the next possession to get Utah's offense running again. The Utes built the lead back to 65-52 after Taylor finished off the mini-spurt with a 3-pointer.