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Utah starts basketball season with 81-37 win over Northwest Nazarene

NCAA Basketball Tournament - Second Round - Gonzaga v Utah Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

It’s a new season up on the Hill for the Utah basketball team, and there are plenty of new faces to get used to. The Utes opened up their season with a 81-37 win over Northwest Nazarene, and it wasn’t always pretty, especially in the first half. The Utes jumped out to a quick 7-0 lead, after a pair of threes by Lorenzo Bonam and Parker Van Dyke and a free throw by Devon Daniels. After that, things were ugly for the next almost 10 minutes, as the Utes looked lost on offense, with a lot of one-on-one play, with plenty of turnovers.

In the last part of the first half, Utah finally busted out a little bit, led by Kyle Kuzma, who had 23 points and 19 boards on the night. The Utes would extend their lead to 36-20, after floating at around that 20 point mark for what seemed like forever.

In the second half, Utah was cleaner and coasted the easy win over an overmatched opponent. There are some questions that come out of this game, obviously with so many new players. First, with 19 turnovers in the game, how will Utah’s offensive system evolve as we move along? Coach K’s system is all about ball movement and cutting, where the Utes played a lot of one-on-one. Is Kyle Kuzma the “go to guy?” Last year it was no doubt Jakob Poeltl, and I’m not 100% sure Kuzma is the guy that can fill those shoes. How will this line up change once Sedrick Barefield and David Collette are eligible? Coach K will have some choices to make of who starts and who gets cut out of the rotation once those two are available in December. Tyler Rawson had a nice debut, with 13 points, while Gabe Bealer pitched in 11 of his own.

All-in-all, it’s good to get some film for the coaches to look at, and for the players to learn from, because no doubt this team has a ways to go before they really gel.