Utah basketball returned to action on Friday night against Coppin State, the Utes’ first game against a Division-I opponent. Utah wasted little time jumping out to a big lead against a squad that was playing its fourth game in five nights. The game was never close, as the Utes pounded Coppin State 94-51 in a game where several of the Utes’ new additions made big contributions. Here are UteZone’s biggest takeaway’s from the blowout win:
Hustle and Execution
The fact that this game would be a blowout was a foregone conclusion, especially given Coppin State’s insane scheduling quirk. The games in three consecutive nights showed for the Eagles, who struggled both on defense and hitting open shots. In a game like this, the most telling sign of success is more in the effort and execution than the final score. Utah came out of the gate strong and with energy, and kept it up throughout the game. In the hustle stats that matter, Utah had 9 steals, 4 blocks, and outrebounded Coppin State 40-25. That’s exactly what needed to happen.
Guards Step Up
It was a big night for Utah guards. JoJo Zamora had an outstanding night, leading all scorers with 22 points on 6-of-12 shooting (3-of-6 from long range). Lorenzo Bonam was also outstanding, scoring 19 – 17 of which came in the first half. Bonam was aggressive taking his man off the dribble, and showed his ability to get to the rim in traffic. Parker Van Dyke and Jake Connor both shot the ball well from outside, and finished with 15 and 11 points, respectively.
Rawson Impresses Again
One of the biggest lessons of the early season is that Utah has a player in 6-foot-10 inch big Tyler Rawson. Rawson was once again a huge sparkplug for the Utes on both the offensive and defensive end. Although he didn’t shoot the ball well (he only scored 6 points on 2-of-7 shooting), he had six assists, 12 rebounds, and a blocked shot. Rawson is going to be a key role player for the Utes this year, and the minutes he’s getting early on should serve this team well as the season progresses.
Spreading Out the Minutes
Given the wide margin of victory, it should come as no surprise that 12 Utah players saw action, including several walkons. The usual suspects had more than 20 minutes: Van Dyke, Kuzma, Rawson, and Bonam – with Zamora joining the group due to solid play and Devon Daniels’ foul trouble. Connor, Bealer, Rydalch and Johnson all had more than 14 minutes as well.
The Utes have a week hiatus before hosting UC Riverside in the Huntsman Center at 6:00 pm on Friday, November, 25. The game will air on Pac-12 Networks and be broadcast on KALL 700.