SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah played a near perfect game through the first 13 minutes against Utah State on Saturday. The Utes were so sharp early that they couldn't keep up the pace and had to work to put away the in-state rival.
Justin Bibbins scored 16 points and had seven assists as Utah led start-to-finish in a 77-67 victory over Utah State on in the first game of the inaugural Beehive Classic.
The tournament is scheduled to pit Utah, Utah State, BYU and Weber State against each other at the Utah Jazz's home arena with the opponents rotating each year.
"It's hard to turn a 20-point lead into a 40-point lead in a game like this," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "We got sloppy and started throwing the ball around. I use the term 'disrespect the game.' It's not really like the guys are knowingly doing that.
"Mature teams, winning teams, realize that the next play is really important regardless of score. ... Maybe that's part of a team maturing. We haven't been in that position. Hopefully we can learn."
The Utes (7-2) stormed out the gate with a 19-2 run highlighted by an active David Collette and a sharp-shooting Tyler Rawson. Collette seemed to have some extra juice at the outset, throwing down an aggressive dribble-drive dunk and pounding his chest after an and-1 layup, against his former team. The 6-foot-10 senior had to sit out a year after transferring from Utah State, where he was third-team all-Mountain West in 2014-15.
Rawson finished with 16 points and Collette added 13 points and seven rebounds.
"We came out with more fire, for sure," Collette said. "A lot of that could have been me. Just trying to get my guys fired up because I feel like the last few games I've kind of been sitting back and not doing my part as a leader.
"Honestly, it is a little difficult (to keep up that pace). As young guys, as players, we get a little complacent. With a big lead, we feel like we can relax. That's one thing that we have to tighten up."
Utah cruised to a 45-24 lead before Utah State (5-6) ripped off a 12-0 run late in the half and went into the halftime down 47-36. Quinn Taylor (20 points) and DeAngelo Isby (11) accounted for all but five of the Aggies' first-half points.
Both had career nights as Taylor finished with 22 points and Isby totaled 24.
"Really poor start on our part," Utah State coach Tim Duryea said. "We were not aggressive at all and kind of standing around waiting to see what would happen a little bit. And they were tremendous.
"The first half, Taylor and Isby saved our bacon. Our starters had nothing going. No rhythm, no flow, foul trouble. Everything you could think of."
The Aggies got within four points in the second half, but were never able to get over the hump.
Utah shot 59.3 percent from the field in the first half.
"Kept fighting, kept trying," Taylor said. "That's what we're going to do all season."
Utah State: The Aggies didn't wilt against their first Power 5 opponent despite a horrific start. Utah State continued to fight and had a strong defensive effort, with some zone, that threw the Utah offense out of whack. It didn't have the firepower to get the victory, but the experience was valuable as the Aggies had to find other contributors as the starters struggle most of the night.
Utah: Krystkowiak won't be pleased with the way his team quit playing with the same intensity as it had during the 19-2 start. The Utes weren't going to shoot 75 percent all game, but the offensive action wasn't as crisp and the defense repeatedly gave up wide-open 3-pointers. That will be trouble against better teams in Pac-12 play.
Utah's plan was to take away Utah State's two leading scorers — Koby McEwen and Sam Merrill. The scheme worked as the two finished with six combined points, all from Merrill. They entered averaging a combined 28.1.
"I thought he was awful in every area," Duryea said of McEwen. "Mentally, physically, on the offensive end, on the defensive end. Worried about things he shouldn't be worried about. Really just an awful performance. In a game like this, we can't have an awful performance from him."
Utah State: Hosts Life Pacific on Saturday.
Utah: Travels to face in-state rival BYU on Saturday.
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