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Utes spread out minutes in winning final exhibition

Utah's Bryant Markson drives past Northwest Nazarene's Mesut Ademoglu during the Utes' exhibition win Monday at the Huntsman Center.
Utah's Bryant Markson drives past Northwest Nazarene's Mesut Ademoglu during the Utes' exhibition win Monday at the Huntsman Center.
Tom Smart, Deseret Morning News

The Utah basketball team had little trouble winning its second exhibition game Monday night, beating Northwest Nazarene 79-51 before a spotty crowd at the Huntsman Center.

Ten Ute players played at least 15 minutes and each scored and got a rebound in the easy win over the Division II school from Nampa, Idaho.

Bryant Markson, who gave the crowd a scare when he went down in a heap late in the first half, led the Ute scoring with 15 points and also grabbed a team-high six rebounds. Freshman Luke Nevill added 13 points off the bench, while Chris Jackson scored in double figures for the second straight game with 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting.

Freshman Lawrence Borha scored nine points on a perfect 4 of 4 from the field, while Johnny Bryant and Ricky Johns each scored eight points off the bench.

Ute coach Ray Giacoletti said he was happy with his team for "competing and giving a great effort," but was a little disappointed to give up 33 second-half points after holding the Crusaders to 18 in the first.

"It's hard to sustain something for 40 minutes this time of year," he said. "We have a lot of young guys who need to get minutes and they'll get better as we go along."

It took the Utes nearly three minutes to score to start the game, but once they got rolling, it was no contest. By the 8:43 mark, the Utes led 24-6 and scored the last six points of the half to make it 40-18 at halftime.

The scrappy Crusaders played the Utes pretty even throughout much of the second half, before the Utes extended the lead to 30 in the final minutes.

Mesut Ademoglu, a 6-foot-10 forward from Turkey, led the Crusaders with 14 points, while Tim Ireland scored 10. The Utes finished with a huge advantage at the free throw line, hitting 28 of 39 compared to 3 of 5 for the Crusaders.

Chris Grant, a walk-on from East High School, started at the off-guard position for Utah and finished with three points, three rebounds and three assists in 15 minutes of play. Giacoletti said Grant had earned the spot "by making good decisions and being solid for the first 25 practices."

Johnnie Bryant, who had started the first game, had three steals to go along with three rebounds and three assists, but he had eight points in 27 minutes of play.

Giacoletti didn't know who would start in Friday's opener, but said he liked the substitution pattern he had Monday night.

As for Markson, Giacoletti called it a "sprain" of the right knee, but said he was fine and Markson came back to play six minutes into the second half.

The Utes open the regular season Friday night against Texas State at 7 p.m. at the Huntsman Center.


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