SALT LAKE CITY — The visiting Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils provided little resistance to the Utah men’s basketball team Friday as the Utes easily controlled the game from tipoff and managed a 143-49 blowout victory.
The win is the largest margin of victory over a Division I opponent in NCAA history, according to ESPN stats. It was also the most points ever scored in a game by the Utes — the previous highest being 132 points against Evansville in 1960.
“I thought we were dialed in, we guarded well, got out in transition, shared the basketball and rebounded," Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "I’m told there were some records broken like margin of victory and some different things which doesn't happen unless you are pretty darn sharp.
"Shots went in when we were open and I’m not sure there is too many games with a couple guys earning triple-doubles and those types of things," he added. "It was a pretty productive and high-powered win for us and it was done by a number of guys."
In the team’s home opener for the 2019-20 season, Utah (2-0) quickly put space between itself and the visiting Delta Devils and took a 70-20 lead into the halftime break. The Utes shot an impressive 63% from the field in the first half and controlled a 35-3 advantage in fast-break points in one half of play.
Sophomore Timmy Allen had a team-high 22 points at the half, which was more than the entire Delta Devils team, before his minutes were limited in the second half. Allen, one of the team’s returning starters from last year, finished the night with 26 total points and four rebounds in the win.
Utah continued its intensity against the inferior opponent on 63% shooting and outscored the Delta Devils 73-29 in the second half to claim the record-setting win. The Delta Devils only shot 26% from the field on 21-of-80 shooting.
The Utes had nine players in double figures Friday night, including a triple-double performance by Both Gach and a triple-double by Rylan Jones. Gach, a sophomore and returner to the program, had 12 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists and Jones, a freshman, had 10 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.
The last time a Utah team had someone record a triple-double was in 1999 when Alex Jensen had a triple-double against Fresno State with 16 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. It's also the first time two players in the same game have recorded a triple-double in Division I play in over 20 seasons, according to ESPN stats.
Two Utah players (Rylan Jones, Both Gach) had triple-doubles tonight. It's unclear if a team has ever had two players with triple-doubles in the same game before (hasn't happened in at least 20 years).— Kyle Bonagura (@BonaguraESPN) November 9, 2019
Utah only has 2 other triple-doubles in history (Alex Jensen, Andre Miller).
Utah’s Alfonso Plummer was the team’s second-leading scorer with 17 points, and freshmen Branden Carlson and Jaxon Brenchley each had 14 points. Starter Riley Battin finished with 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists, and Matt Van Komen and Eli Ballstaedt had 12 points apiece.
“You know, we’ve got about three or four sophomores, a lot of freshmen so we are going to need everybody," Krystkowiak said. "One thing I’m sensing the last few weeks is a little bit of consistency with guys understanding how hard this is and hard you need to bring it every day. That’s usually one thing that takes a while for young kids to figure out.”
The Utes hit a total of 17 3-pointers in the game, which tied a program record of 17 against UCLA last season. Utah also beat a program record of 41 assists in its win over the Delta Devils, which breaks a record of 37 assists against Seattle in 1985.
Utah returns to action Friday, Nov. 15, as the Utes welcome Minnesota to town at 7 p.m. MST at the Huntsman Center. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks.