The change for Utah started with a shift in mentality.
Gone were the Utes of the first half against Lamar, the team that settled for 3-pointers that clanged off the rim. That bunch was replaced by a group full of aggression. Gone was the Utah team that started slow on the defensive end, turned the ball over and limped into intermission with a-six point lead.
The final, before 7,751 at the Huntsman Center, was 84-57. That should tell you how dominant the Utes were in the final 20 minutes. That should tell you how aggressive they were going to the rim, how much better they were on the defensive end and how committed they were to passing up good shots for great shots.
"We were settling in the first half, and we recognized that," sophomore point guard Brandon Taylor said. "We wanted to get more stuff going to the basket."
On the second day of the Global Sports Hoops Showcase, Utah showed its depth and its athleticism. The Utes scored 50 points after halftime. They notched 24 assists and committed just 10 turnovers, and they outrebounded their fourth consecutive opponent. Princeton Onwas a junior college transfer from Houston stood out with his play off the bench. A 6-foot-5 small forward, Onwas scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Three of his baskets came on crowd-pleasing dunks. He also notched three steals.
"I had been hurt a little bit with an ankle," Onwas said. "I think that affected me a little bit. But it's gotten a lot better, and I think Coach is ready to trust me out there playing more. I just wanted to be aggressive tonight, drive to the basket and see what happens."
Jordan Loveridge led Utah with 14 points and seven rebounds. It's the first time this season the sophomore didn't produce a double-double, but he played just 22 minutes. Delon Wright had an uneven first half like the rest of the team but was much better going forward. The junior guard had 10 points, six assists and four rebounds. Renan Lenz scored 12 points in 19 minutes.
In blowing the game open, Utah played 13 guys, with 11 scoring. Even former Davis High guard Connor Van Brocklin got into the action with his first three points as a Ute. If anything, the second half underscored a bit of progress with this team. Last year when Utah struggled, it sometimes couldn't recover, which led to losses to teams such as Sacramento State and Cal State Northridge.
The Utes could've fallen into that funk Friday night. Instead, they fought through it.
"I think it's a different team and I hope we've made some strides," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "I just thought we made a few adjustments, and I was happy with the execution in the second half."
O Utah outscores Lamar 50-29 in the second half.
• Princeton Onwas scores a career-high 12 points off the bench.
• Utah improves to 4-0 on the season.