SALT LAKE CITY -- Jordan Loveridge scored 18 points and fellow freshman Justin Seymour added 16 as Utah cruised past Division III opponent Willamette 104-47 on Friday in the Utes' season opener.
Reserve Dakarai Tucker, another freshman, added 15 points as six Utah players scored in double figures.
Elliot Babcock-Krenk led Willamette with seven points as the Bearcats shot just 22 percent from the field.
The Utes hit their first three shots and were off and running, leading by 20 with nearly 8 minutes left in the first half and by 30, 52-22, going into the break. It only got worse from there for the Bearcats, who were outmatched against the bigger Utes.
Utah held a 55-29 advantage on the boards, with Loveridge and Dallin Bachynski grabbing 10 rebounds apiece.
The Utes also shot 63 percent from the floor and made 8 of their 18 3-point attempts.
The Utes dominated as they should against a Division III foe. But a year ago they lost their exhibition game to a Division II opponent, then barely beat San Diego Christian College in their opener en route to a 6-25 record and the worst season in school history.
Second-year coach Larry Krystkowiak is hoping a revamped roster with 11 new faces will yield different results. His freshmen didn't disappoint.
Seymour, who started at shooting guard because of injuries to Aaron Dotson and Jarred DuBois, opened the game with a 3-pointer and Loveridge started 3 of 3. Tucker also showed his outside range, hitting his first two 3-pointers for the Utes.
Overall, Utah's shooting was much improved -- especially in the first half, when the Utes shot 64 percent from the field and made 7 of 12 3-pointers. Last year Utah shot just 31 percent from 3-point range and 40 percent overall.
The Utes can only hope history doesn't repeat. A year ago, they won their opener only to lose eight straight. Utah also lost 11 of 12 to close the season and finish 3-15 in their first season in the Pac-12 Conference. They also were just 6-9 at the Huntsman Center to snap a run of 38 consecutive seasons with a winning record at home.
On a snowy night, they didn't disappoint the home crowd.
The Utes were picked to finish last again in the Pac-12, but Krystkowiak made wholesale changes to his roster. Eight players either left or were shown the door, leaving room for Krystkowiak to bring in seven freshmen or junior-college transfers, with 11 new faces in all.
His two returning starters, seniors Jason Washburn and Cedric Martin, showed Friday they don't want to go out losers.
Martin set the tone defensively for the Utes, standing firm to take several charges early,
Washburn, who led the Utes in scoring and rebounding last season, took a seat on the bench after committing a couple of quick turnovers. But he came back strong, scoring on a nice baseline move to bump Utah's lead to 38-14 before blocking a Babcock-Krenk shot at the other end.
Washburn had another block on Avery Manu early in the second half and forced a turnover. He finished with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
The Bearcats, 5-20 overall last year and 3-13 in the Northwest Conference, shot just 27 percent in the first half and were outrebounded 24-11.
While the Utes clearly have more size, depth and ability than they did last season, how much they truly have improved may not be known until next month, when they face Boise State and BYU. They have 11 more nonconference games before Pac-12 play starts.
* NO. 21 GONZAGA 103, SOUTHERN UTAH 65: At Spokane, Wash., Freshman Przemek Karnowski scored 22 points to lead Gonzaga to a win over Southern Utah in the season opener for both teams.
Karnowski, a highly touted 7-foot-1 center from Poland, led six players in double figures. Guy Landry Edi scored a career-high 16 points, Sam Dower had 15, Elias Harris and David Stockton had 12 apiece and Kevin Pangos added 10.
Jackson Stevenett led Southern Utah with 29 points on 11-of-15 shooting. Waded Collie added 10 points for the Thunderbirds.
Gonzaga, which was never threatened after halftime, opened the second half with a 12-2 run and allowed only one Southern Utah field goal in the first 5 minutes. A free throw by Gary Bell Jr. gave the Bulldogs their biggest lead of the night at 83-45 with 7:47 left.
* IUPUI 67, UTAH VALLEY 54: At Indianapolis, John Hart scored 19 points, leading four IUPUI players in double figures, and the Jaguars won their season opener over Utah Valley.
Mitchell Patton had 15 points and Greg Rice and Donovan Gibbs added 10 points apiece for IUPUI. Gibbs also had nine rebounds to lead the Jaguars.
Holton Hunsaker led the Wolverines with 15 points. Ben Aird had 11 points and 13 rebounds for Utah Valley, which only led after Alfonzo Hubbard scored the game's first basket. Hart then hit a 3-pointer to begin an 8-0 run for IUPUI. The Jaguars led 43-26 at halftime in the first meeting between the schools.