The Utes figured to lean on junior guard Sedrick Barefield a lot offensively this season. With Barefield out due to a stomach virus Monday night, senior wing Gabe Bealer showed he might be ready to shoulder more of the offensive burden this season than in the past.

Bealer scored a game-high 20 points on a night when it seemed like everything that left his hand was destined to find the bottom of the net as the Utah men’s basketball team blasted Mississippi Valley State 91-51 in the Jon M. Hunstman Center.

Bealer, who is still working his way back from offseason foot surgery to repair a broken bone, went 7 for 10 from the floor and 6 of 8 from 3-point range in an offensive outburst. He also grabbed seven rebounds.

“I don’t think I’m fully 100 percent yet because I still get some soreness in my foot and stuff like that,” Bealer said. “I don’t get as much lift as I want to, but I mean I’m making progress. I’m happy with that.”

The Utes played without sophomore center Jayce Johnson for the second straight game due to an ankle injury as well as being without Barefield, who was sent home.

“I thought we responded really well,” Bealer said. “[Barefield] is a really big part of our offense. He scores a lot of points. With him out, there’s a big gap there that somebody has to fill. You know, I guess it was just my time to fill that gap.”

Senior guard Justin Bibbins chipped in with nine points, seven assists and five rebounds, while Tyler Rawson added 10 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots. David Collette contributed eight points and eight rebounds.

The Utes scored the first 12 points of the night, which included 3-pointers from Rawson and Kolbe Caldwell. Caldwell, a sophomore who transferred from junior college, started in Barefield’s place. The Utes made five first-half 3-pointers (5 of 13) to match the number of made 3-pointers from their first game.

The Delta Devils rallied with a 14-4 run to make the score 24-16. However, the Utes countered by scoring the next 15 points. The lead reached 21 points, 37-16, on a pair of Chris Seeley free throws with 5:19 remaining in the half. When Rawson made one of his four first-half blocks, it led to a reverse layup in transition by Parker Van Dyke to give the Utes a 39-16 advantage.

The Utes carried a 41-21 lead into halftime. The second half started with Bealer torching the defense from outside with three 3-pointers within the first five minutes. He’d set a new career high early in the second half.

“It was really unexpected from me,” Seeley, a redshirt freshman, said of Bealer. “I didn’t know he could shoot the ball like that, honestly. I was like Dang! But I mean he stepped in with confidence and kept shooting it. I was like yeah, keep doing you.”

Seeley riled up the crowd when he hammered home several one-handed dunks as the Utes lead reached 45 points in the second half. Seeley scored eight points and pulled down 12 rebounds in 15 minutes off the bench. Freshman forward Donnie Tillman added 12 points off the bench. Ten of the 11 Utes who played scored at least four points apiece.

“We got out of the gates great,” Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “I think we hit our first six shots if I’m not mistaken. A little bit similar to the other night. The only thing on the stat sheet that I’m disappointed in is the 16 turnovers. We got a little sloppy once again. That can’t be our Achilles heel. We’ve got to be really secure with the ball and sure fire things. I like our squad a lot when we get shots.”