SALT LAKE CITY -— Delon Wright scored 17 points on 8-of-8 shooting while Jordan Loveridge added 15 points and 15 rebounds to help Utah pull away from Grand Canyon for a 79-54 victory to open the Global Sports Hoops Showcase on Thursday night.
Parker Van Dyke had a career-high 12 points off the bench for the Utes (3-0), who used their speed and size to take control of the game from the opening tip. Utah out-rebounded the Antelopes 49-33 and had a 42-28 edge for points in the paint. The Utes produced 20 points off 12 Grand Canyon turnovers. Utah also outscored the Antelopes 17-2 in fastbreak points.
Demetrius Walker had 16 points and Jerome Garrison added 12 to lead the Antelopes, a Division I newcomer still searching for their first win over a Division I opponent. Grand Canyon (1-3) joined the WAC this season after competing in the Pac West – an NCAA Division II conference – last season.
Points for Grand Canyon occurred as often as a desert rainstorm in the first half. The Antelopes missed seven straight shots to open the game and did not get their first basket until five minutes into the half. They shot only 28 percent from the field and 10 percent from three-point range before halftime.
Utah wasted no time taking advantage. The Utes opened the game on an 11-0 run — capped by a three-point play from Jordan Loveridge — and hit 5 of 7 baskets during the same stretch where Grand Canyon could not score at all.
Grand Canyon whittled the lead down to six when Jeremy Adams scored a layup to cut Utah’s lead to 15-9. But that brief comeback simply set the stage for another 11-0 spurt for the Ute offense.
A layup from Wright gave Utah a double-digit lead again. Dakari Tucker finished off the run with back-to-back 3-pointers, giving the Utes a 30-12 lead with 5:43 remaining before halftime.
The Antelopes managed to trim the lead a little bit before halftime and continued to cut into it coming out of the locker room. Grand Canyon rallied within 12 points, making it 40-28 on a layup from Killian Larson.
Utah did not let the Antelopes get any closer. Jeremy Olsen scored layups on back-to-back possessions to spark a 13-2 run. Wright finished off the run with a three-point play, giving Utah a 53-30 lead with 12:00 minutes left in the game.
Grand Canyon had one final run left. The Antelopes went on a 10-2 spurt, cutting it to 55-40 on a Blake Davis 3-pointer. Utah ended slammed the door shut on any comeback by answering with an 8-0 run. Van Dyke drained a pair of free throws to cap the spurt and give the Utes a 63-40 lead with 7:15 remaining.
The Global Sports Hoops Showcase continues Friday with Grand Canyon facing Savannah State and Utah hosting Lamar.