Kyle Kuzma shines as Utah beats Northwest Nazarene 81-37
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Kyle Kuzma posted career highs with 23 points and 19 rebounds as Utah defeated Northwest Nazarene 81-37 in its season opener Saturday evening.
Utah fans got their first full glimpse of the new-look Utes and their roster consisting of just two legitimate contributors from last season.
The Utes struggled mightily for the first 16 minutes of the first half until a 17-3 run basically put the game away after they led 36-20 at halftime. Utah shot under 40 percent most of the first half as the offense seemed to have no real direction.
Kuzma started the game passively, like the rest of the team, but picked up the aggression and finished with 13 points and 12 rebounds in the first half alone. He highlighted the 17-3 stretch with a spinning floater while being fouled. Teammate Tyler Rawson added 13 points.
Northwest Nazarene, which was playing a back-to-back after defeating Simpson University 92-67 on Friday, shot just 16.4 percent from the field and was 1 for 25 from behind the arc. Maurice Jones scored 11 points.