SALT LAKE CITY -- Jordan Loveridge scored 15 points to help Utah coast to a 72-38 victory over the College of Idaho on Friday night at the Huntsman Center.
Brandon Taylor scored 14 points and Jason Washburn had 10 points for the Utes (8-4), who never trailed the Coyotes, a NAIA team from the Cascadia Conference.
Sydney Donaldson scored 10 points to lead the College of Idaho, which counted the game as an exhibition. It has not beaten an NCAA Division I opponent since routing Boise State 87-66 in 2004.
"I think we needed to play again for sure," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "But I have said all along that I am a firm believer in everything happening for a reason. We aren't that far away from having a record like a lot of teams in our league have now. But at the same time I know everyone came back really focused after Christmas."
Utah weathered a sluggish start on offense before finally heating up halfway through the first half. The Utes missed 10 of their first 14 shots and let the Coyotes keep it close.
It all changed when Dakarai Tucker buried a 3-pointer to ignite a 19-3 run. Taylor tacked on a pair of 3-pointers to fuel the run and Jarred DuBois finished it off with a fastbreak layup that gave the Utes a commanding 30-12 lead with 6:27 left before halftime.
Utah did not allow College of Idaho to score a field goal for nearly 5 minutes during the decisive run. Overall, the Coyotes shot just 23.5 percent in the first half -- including 21.4 percent from the perimeter.
Holding onto a halftime lead proved to not be a problem this time around. Utah blew a 21-point lead against Cal State Northridge in the team's most recent home loss a week earlier but the Utes quickly snuffed out hopes of a similar rally by the Coyotes.
Utah opened the second half on a 14-3 run and climbed to a 51-23 lead on a 3-pointer from Taylor with 13:08 left in the game.
* UTAH VALLEY 84, AUSTIN PEAY 77: At Chattanooga, Tenn., Nick Thompson had the first triple-double in Utah Valley history and Ben Aird scored a career-high 26 points as the Wolverines defeated Austin Peay in the first round of the Dr Pepper Classic.
Thompson had 13 points, 10 rebounds and a school-record 12 assists for Utah Valley (7-8). Holton Hunsaker scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half. The Wolverines broke away from a 67-all tie in the final 5 minutes.
Utah Valley shot a season-best 61 percent from the field in handing the Governors their fifth consecutive defeat.
Travis Betran led Austin Peay (4-9) with 27 points.
* USU TO OPEN WAC PLAY ON ROAD AT SAN ANTONIO: At San Antonio, the Aggies, who are starting their eighth and final season in the Western Athletic Conference, will take on Texas-San Antonio and Texas State this weekend. UTSA will play its first WAC game against the Aggies, with the game set for 5 p.m.
Now in its 108th season of basketball, Utah State has an overall record of 1,488-1,023.
The Aggies enter the WAC opener at 9-1 on the season. Junior guard Preston Medlin, the preseason WAC player of the year, leads the team in scoring (13.6 ppg) and assists (3.6 apg), while junior center Jarred Shaw and senior forward Kyisean Reed are pitching in with 13.2 points and 8.6 rebounds and 12.5 points and 6.8 rebounds
per game, respectively.
Utah State leads the league field goal percentage (.501), 3-point field goal percentage (.386), rebounding defense (26.1 rpg), rebounding margin (+11.5), assists (17.0 apg) and assist/turnover ratio (1.3).
The Roadrunners (4-6) recently concluded a stretch of six straight road contests played
in six different states and four time zones from Nov. 21 to Dec. 21. Senior guard Kannon Burrage ranks second in the WAC in scoring (18.6 ppg) and senior guard Michael Hale III stands fourth (16.9 ppg), making UTSA the only school with two players in the top five.
Hale ranks in the WAC top 10 in eight different statistical categories,
The Aggies play at Texas State on Monday.
* BYU MEETS VIRGINIA TECH AT HIGH NOON: A pair of teams each with nine wins and NCAA aspirations meet at noon todat EnergySolutions Arena.
Virginia Tech (9-3) is coming off an 88-52 loss to Colorado State last Sunday in the finals of the Continental Tire Las Vegas Classic.
BYU improved to 9-4 on the season after an 84-54 win over Northern Arizona on Thursday night.
The Hokies are led by Erick Green, who tops the ACC and the nation in scoring. He scored 57 points in the two games in Las Vegas, upping his average to 25.4 points per game.
The Hokies are 32nd nationally in scoring offense and tied for 35th nationally in free throw percentage.
BYU is led by Brandon Davies, who finished with 27 points and 10 rebounds on Thursday. Tyler Haws scored 15 points and Raul Delgado had a career-high 11 points.