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Kuzma scores 19, No. 25 Utah beats UC Riverside

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Freshman Kyle Kuzma scored 19 points and Delon Wright had 13 to help No. 25 Utah beat UC Riverside 88-42 on Friday night.

Kuzma, a highly recruited forward from Michigan who redshirted last season, scored just one point in Utah’s first two games. He got his first extended playing time and went 3-for-4 from 3-point range.

Jordan Loveridge scored 12 points and Brekkott Chapman had 11 as Utah (2-1) sparkled from beyond the arc, shooting 9 for 17 on 3s.

Nick Gruninger, a Utah native who played high school ball 20 miles north of the Huntsman Center, scored 14 points to lead the Highlanders (1-2). UC Riverside shot 29 percent and made 1 of their 13 3-point attempts.

Utah led 16-11 midway through the first half when Chapman, a freshman forward, sparked a 15-2 run with a steal and a tip-in. The lead expanded to 48-21 at halftime, boosted by 19 points off turnovers.

The second half gave Utah reserves a chance to play. Everyone on the team scored except for walk-on Austin Eastman, who played only the final minute.

The Utes have installed a more free-wheeling motion offense this season but couldn’t find a good flow in the first two games. The style is based on reading the defense, movement and pick-and-rolls.

In their first loss Tuesday at San Diego State, the Utes had more turnovers (18) than field goals (16), falling 53-49.

The pick-and-roll success that had been so spotty was effective against the Highlanders, resulting in a bevy of layups, dunks and open jumpers.

TIP-INS

UC Riverside: Leading scorer Taylor Johns was held to two points on 1-for-11 shooting. The Highlanders made all nine of their free throw attempts; Utah went 21 of 28.

Utah: The Utes tallied 21 assists on their 29 field goals and blocked seven shots. … At halftime, over 100 members of the Ute Tribe danced on the court while elders played a traditional drum.

UP NEXT

UC Riverside: Hosts Saint Katherine on Sunday.

Utah: Hosts Texas-Pan American next Wednesday.

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