SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Utes haven’t played the toughest of competition just yet, but they are taking care of business at home so far this season.
David Jenkins Jr. scored 25 points as Utah cruised to an 86-55 win over Bethune-Cookman in its opening game of the Sunshine Slam inside the Huntsman Center Monday night.
Brandon Carlson had 14 points and 9 rebounds, while Both Gach had 11 points off the bench in his first game back with the Utes since transferring from Minnesota.
“I think, more than anything, my teammates did a good job of hitting me,” said Jenkins, who made 6 of 9 three-pointers to go along with five assists. “In general, we do a good job of finding the hot man. Whether it’s a game or practice, we notice that. I just think that comes back to how unselfish of a team we are, and how big we’re into our camaraderie and our team chemistry.”
Utah’s offensive needed a little time to get going but when it did, it went on a 12-0 run that was capped off by Dusan Mahorcic’s lay-up after the big man was rewarded for grabbing the defensive board and running the floor to put the Utes on top 15-4.
After the 11:58 media timeout, the Utes hit a bit of a wall and went just 1-of-9 from the field before a lay-up from Branden Carlson and 3-pointer from Jenkins, as Utah took a 27-14 lead with 7:29 left in the first frame.
Jenkins then forced a Bethune-Cookman timeout with 3:19 left after the senior drained three-consecutive triples to put Utah on top 38-18 in a hurry. Jenkins scored 20 points in the opening 20 minutes, as the Utes built a 45-23 lead at halftime.
“The third game in seven days, and I’m proud of how our guys prepared,” Utah head coach Craig Smith said. “I thought our preparation was really good by our coaching staff and our players.”
The second half was very much the same as Utah continued to increase its lead before back-to-back baskets from BCU (0-3) made it 61-36 in favor of the Utes with 12:00 left to go. The trend would not change as Coach Smith emptied his bench before the buzzer sounded with Utah delivering a resounding 86-55 victory.
Utah now hits the road this weekend for the remainder of the Sunshine Slam down in Daytona Beach, Fla., where it’ll open with Boston College on Saturday, Nov. 20, at 3 p.m. (MT