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SALT LAKE CITY - The University of Utah men's basketball team rolled to another exhibition victory Tuesday night at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The Runnin' Utes hammered Northwest Nazarene 88-43 in their final tune-up before the regular season begins later this week.
Junior center Luke Nevill (Perth, Australia) dominated the paint for Utah, scoring a game-high 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Nevill also tied for game-high honors with eight rebounds. Sophomore forward Stephen Weigh (Rockhampton, Australia) scored 17 points for Utah on a 6-for-6 night from the field, including 3-for-3 accuracy from three-point range.
Senior guard Johnnie Bryant (Oakland, Calif.) and sophomore forward Kim Tillie (Cagnes-sur Mer, France) came off the bench and tacked on 11 and 10 points, respectively. Tillie also pulled down eight boards. Junior guard Tyler Kepkay (Vancouver, B.C.) and sophomore guard Luka Drca (Belgrade, Serbia) each dished out a game-high five assists for the Utes.
Utah led 21-12 midway through the first half. But the Utes put together an 11-2 spurt -- sparked by a Tillie three-pointer - to grab an 18-point advantage. By halftime, Utah had built a 20-point advantage, 42-22. Northwest Nazarene never got any closer.
The Utes converted their field-goal attempts at a .621 clip from the field in the second half to pull away. Eight minutes into the second half, Utah had only increased its advantage by three. But the Runnin' Utes sprinted away from the Crusaders with a 17-0 spurt over the next five minutes. Bryant hit two three-pointers during the run, which was started by a traditional three-point play from Nevill. With 7:52 remaining, Utah's lead had ballooned to 40 points, 76-36.
The Utes led by as many as 47 points late, before rolling to the 45-point victory.
Northwest Nazarene shot just .289 from the field and had even less success from beyond the arc (.263). The Crusaders were paced by Tyler Roberts, who tallied 10 points, including a pair of three-pointers.
Utah will now turn its focus to the beginning of the regular season Friday. The Runnin' Utes will host South Carolina Upstate in a 7 p.m. contest at the Huntsman Center.