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SALT LAKE CITY — At one point in the game Thursday night, Utah shot 83% from 3-point range and had a 19-point lead.
It was all part of a 22-3 opening run for the Utes, who started the game making 3-point shot after 3-point shot, and forced the visiting Jacksonville State Gamecocks into only missed shots for the first five minutes of the game.
Utah, naturally, cooled down a bit as the game progressed and the Gamecocks cut Utah's lead to as low as 10 points in the first half, but the 3-point looks remained open ... and the Utes were happy to take them and drain them en route to a 99-58 win.
In the end, Utah drained 16 3-point shots and finished the night shooting 57% from deep over Jacksonville State (4-5).
"We had a good shooting night, that's true," Lazar Stefanovic said. "We were two 3s from the record or something — too bad we didn't get that. But, yeah, we're a team full of shooters; and when we move the ball the way we know, everybody's open, we get easy shots — rhythm shots — and they just fall down; we've got to trust it."
The Runnin' Utes closed out the first half on an 11-0 run and controlled a 22-point lead going into the halftime break.
That lead only grew in the second half as the Utes dominated on the defensive end, made transition shots and highlight reel dunks on the other end, while sprinkling in more 3-pointers to eventually build up a game-high 49-point lead with 2:50 left to play.
Even when Utah (8-2, 2-0 Pac-12) went to its bench, the scoring continued and the shots kept falling on a night when the team finished 56% from the field and outscored the Gamecocks 54-33 in the second half. The team assisted on 25 of the 38 made field goals in a full team-wide effort.
Stefanovic led the team with 20 points, including six made 3-pointers, three assists and two rebounds before he was subbed out of the game with just over five minutes left to play. Stefanovic was one of four players that finished the night in double figures in the win, including Branden Carlson (19 points), Gabe Madsen (16), and Marco Anthony (10).
It was the first time since Utah's 83-75 loss to Missouri last season that three Utah players scored over 15 points in a game.
Jacksonville State had two players finish in double figures, with Clarence Jackson leading the way with 16 points on 5-of-10 shooting and three rebounds in the loss. He was joined in double figures by Skyelar Potter, who had 15 points. The duo scored six of the team's nine 3-pointers on the night for a team that shot 37% from the field.
The win for the Utes comes on a night when 6-foot-9 forward Gavin Baxter announced a medical retirement from the game after sustaining three season-ending injuries at BYU before he transferred to Utah. Baxter played seven games for the Utes before deciding to end his collegiate career.