The Runnin’ Utes rebounded nicely from Wednesday’s disjointed road loss to TCU, leading almost wire-to-wire and getting contributions from almost every healthy player on the roster in a 96-62 win over visiting Manhattan at the Huntsman Center on Saturday afternoon.
Here are three keys to Utah’s seventh win of the season:
• The Utes played arguably their best half of the season in the first half, outscoring the Jaspers 47-30 and dominating on both ends of the floor. They got even better in the second half, if that was possible, as the Jaspers ran out of gas and were blown off the floor by the deeper, bigger Utes.
• Manhattan’s Jose Perez entered the game averaging 13.4 points and 6.1 assists, but was bottled up by the Utes when it really mattered. He was 1 of 7 for six points in the first half as the Jaspers shot 33% in the first half and were out-rebounded 20-14. Perez only played one minute in the second half.
• Coach Craig Smith mixed up his starting lineup, benching the struggling David Jenkins Jr. and reinserting previously injured Marco Anthony into the starting five. Jenkins Jr. didn’t enter the game until 12:56 remained in the first half, and by then the Utes were up 16-8 and really rolling offensively.
Lahat Thioune scored 16 points off the bench, a career-high, while Riley Battin added 14 points and seven rebounds.