SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – Without Sedrick Barefield, the Utes needed someone to take some of the scoring load Monday night, and that someone was Gabe Bealer.
Bealer poured in a career-high 20 points and matched a career-high with seven rebounds to help lead the Utah Runnin’ Utes (2-0) to a 91-51 victory over the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils (0-2) Monday night at the Huntsman Center.
“I thought he was great,” head coach Larry Krystkowiak said about Bealer. “He’s been shooting the ball very well and playing with a lot of confidence. He also made some improvements on the defensive end.”
Barefield the Utes leading scorer, missed the game with a stomach virus.
For the second straight contest to open the season, Utah shot at least 50 percent from the field, which included shooting 44.8 percent on shots taken from downtown. Utah drained 13 three-pointers as a team and Bealer led the way with six three-pointers, which also marked a career-high for the senior.
Utah opened the contest with a 12-0 run and later capped off a 20-2 run with a three-pointer from Bealer. MVSU countered with a 14-4 run, but Utah again proceeded to go on another run, scoring the next 15 points and limiting the Delta Devils without a field goal for six minutes. MVSU hit a three-pointer at the 3:01 mark, but the Utes would take a comfortable 41-21 lead into halftime.
Bealer led all players at the break with 11 points, while Justin Bibbins and David Collette both chipped in with six points through the first period of play. Utah shot 45 percent from the floor, which included a 38 percent effort from downtown. The Utes were 10-of-11 (.910) from the free throw line in the first half. Meanwhile, MVSU shot 27 percent from the field, connecting on just 9-of-34 overall.
MVSU scored the first five points of the second half, but Bealer continued his hot streak and drained three consecutive three-pointers to push Utah’s lead to 53-27. The Utes would go onto hit four more three-pointers down the stretch, while limiting MVSU to just a 20 percent effort from the arc in the second half. Utah lead by as many as 45 points with 1:27 left to play before closing out the game with the 40-point victory.
Utah is back in action this Thursday, Nov. 16, hosting SEC foe Missouri. Tip-off between the Runnin’ Utes and Tigers is set for 6 p.m.