SALT LAKE CITY -- A sluggish start on offense put Utah in a position it has rarely faced this season. The Utes found themselves fighting off a foe playing smart and disciplined basketball.
Everything felt out of sync on offense before halftime. Utah settled for too many outside shots and let Lamar control the pace on both ends of the court.
The second half looked as different as one snowflake from another.
Utah made a greater emphasis to drive to the basket and creating scoring opportunities in the paint. It helped the Utes pull away to secure an 84-57 victory over Lamar on Friday night.
"In the first half, we came out slow," Utah point guard Brandon Taylor said. "We came out real slow. In the second half, we just picked it up and we just got back to our tempo we normally play. We picked it up. We didn't try to look back. We tried to push it down the court as much as we can. We tried to defend as best as we can and it showed."
Jordan Loveridge scored 14 points and collected seven rebounds and Princeton Onwas chipped in 12 points and 10 boards off the bench to lead the Utes. Renan Lenz added 12 points and Delon Wright also chipped in 10 points for Utah (4-0), who won their second game in two days hosting the Global Sports Hoops Showcase.
Rhon Mitchell scored 17 points off the bench and Nimrod Hilliard added 16 for the Cardinals (1-4).
Utah shot 69 percent from the field in the second half and finished 34-of-63 (54.0 percent) overall. The Utes out-rebounded Lamar 37-31 and held a 46-26 edge in points in the paint. The Cardinals shot just 25-of-61 from the field (41 percent).
"At halftime we warned our guys that Utah would come out strong and did," Lamar coach Pat Knight said. "We didn't respond well. We're still learning, but that first half was a positive for our team moving forward."
Utah broke open a close game early in the second half, turning a six-point halftime lead into a double-digit margin behind the efforts of Loveridge and Wright.
"Those guys got a little more focused on the rim," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said "They tried to get the ball into the paint. Delon made some nice layups and Jordan made some nice attack moves and that really kind of fueled us."
"I thought we kicked ourselves in the foot a little bit with our turnovers early on," Krystkowiak said. "We were a little lethargic offensively. Defensively, we were still pretty solid. They hit some tough shots. Some guys got it going."
Utah will conclude the Global Sports Hoops Showcase today against Savannah State while Lamar will face Grand Canyon.
* GRAND CANYON 72, SAVANNAH STATE 71: At Salt Lake City, Killian Larson scored 15 points, including two free throws with 1.7 seconds left, to send Grand Canyon past Savannah State in the Global Sports Hoops Showcase.
Grand Canyon (2-3) faced a 71-70 deficit after Deven Williams' basket for Savannah State (2-5) with 17 seconds left. Larson was then fouled by Terel Hall and hit both free throws to give Grand Canyon its first win over a Division I opponent since it beat Rider in 1991.
After trailing at half, Savannah State went up 58-56 with 5:47 left and maintained the lead until the 1:36 mark when Jerome Garrison's free throws tied the game at 67-67.
Larson also pulled down a game-high 17 rebounds, as the Antelopes out-rebounded Savannah Sate 41-29.
Garrison scored 19 for Grand Canyon. Blake Davis had 13 and Justin Foreman added 10.
Williams led the Tigers with 19 and Keierre Richards had 15.
* NO. 2 KANSAS 88, TOWSON 58: At Lawrence, Kan., Andrew Wiggins scored 16 points, Andrew White III added 13 and second-ranked Kansas raced to a victory over Towson on to open the Battle 4 Atlantis tournament.
Wayne Selden finished with 12 points and Perry Ellis had 10 for the Jayhawks (4-0), who built a 49-16 lead by halftime and never looked back. They'll head to the Bahamas next week to continue the tournament against Wake Forest on Thanksgiving Day.
Jerrelle Benimon had 21 points and 10 rebounds to lead Towson (3-2), which knocked off Temple earlier in the season. Rafriel Guthrie scored 15 points off the bench.
* No. 10 VCU 73, LONG BEACH STATE 67: At San Juan, Puerto Rico, Rob Brandenberg scored 19 points to help No. 10 Virginia Commonwealth beat Long Beach State in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
The Rams (4-1) trailed by eight early in the second half before reeling off a 13-0 run. Juvonte Reddic had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Briante Weber scored 15 for VCU.
Branford Jones led Long Beach State (1-5) with 19 points, and Mike Caffey added 15 in their fifth straight loss.
* No. 14 MICHIGAN 82, FLORIDA STATE 80: At San Juan, Nik Stauskas scored 26 points, including seven in overtime, as No. 14 Michigan erased a 16-point second-half deficit to beat Florida State in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off.
Derrick Walton Jr. added 15 points for the Wolverines (4-1) and Mitch McGary had 14 points and 12 rebounds in his third game back from a back injury
FSU (4-1) had a chance to win the game in the final seconds, but a midcourt heave by Aaron Thomas bounced off the backboard. Ian Miller led the Seminoles with 19 points.
* NO. 18 CONNECTICUT 59, INDIANA 58: At New York, Shabazz Napier scored 27 points, including 11 over the final 7 minutes, to lead No. 18 Connecticut over Indiana in the championship game of the 2K Sports Classic Benefiting Wounded Warrior Project.
Napier's driving basket with 1:34 left to play turned out to be the final points of the game as the Huskies (6-0) held on.
Indiana (5-1) turned the ball over twice and Yogi Ferrell missed a jumper in that span. Napier missed a 3-pointer and was called for an offensive foul in the hectic finish that had the crowd at Madison Square Garden standing for the final 90 seconds.
Ferrell missed a jumper with 10 seconds. Indiana inbounded with .7 seconds left, but Noah Vonleh's jumper was late.
* MASSACHUSETTS 81, NO. 19 NEW MEXICO 65: At Charleston, S.C., Chaz Williams scored 19 points, Raphiael Putney had 18 and Cady Lalanne added 16 points and 14 rebounds as Massachusetts ran past tired No. 19 New Mexico to reach the Charleston Classic championship.
The Minutemen improved to 5-0 for the second time in four years.
New Mexico was playing a day after a double-overtime victory against UAB and wore down as the game went on. Alex Kirk scored a career-high 32 for the Lobos (3-1), who missed their final eight shots.
* AGGIES HOST MISSISSIPPI STATE: At Logan, Utah State (3-0, 0-0 MW) hosts Mississippi State (3-0, 0-0 SEC) at 7 p.m. at the Smith Spectrum.
After today's game, Utah State plays at Weber State on Tuesday, then meets BYU on Nov. 30 at EnergySolutions Arena.
USU is coming off a hard-fought 71-64 win at UC Santa Barbara Saturday night at UCSB's Thunderdome, as seniors Preston Medlin and Spencer Butterfield combined for 34 points.
Medlin also became the 36th player in school history to reach 1,000 career points. Medlin, a guard, netted a game-high 18 points. Butterfield, a guard/forward, added 16 points also hitting four 3-pointers to tie a career-high. He also snared seven rebounds. Junior forward Ben Clifford added 10 points, including 6-of-6 at the free throw line, all coming in the last 5:01 of the game, including four in the final 20 seconds to secure the win. Senior center Jarred Shaw posted nine points and nine rebounds, leading USU to a 38-25 rebounding advantage.
"Today, it's going to be a challenge because Mississippi State plays a lot of pressure man-to-man," USU coach Stew Morrill said. "They're going to be well-aware that we're a good 3-point shooting team and that we have some shooters."
Sophomore forward Gavin Ware led MSU on Tuesday with a double-double with 23 points and 11 rebounds, leading three starters in double-figures as senior forward Colin Borchert posted 14 points and sophomore guard Craig Sword added 10 points.
* HAWS A NAISMITH AWARD NOMINEE: BYU junior guard Tyler Haws is among the 50 players named to this season's Naismith Award early season watch list, as announced Thursday by the Atlanta Tipoff Club.
The Naismith College Player of the Year Award is annually presented by the Atlanta Tipoff Club to the nation's premier men's and women's college basketball players.
Earlier this season, Haws was listed on the 50-man Wooden Award watch list.
Haws is off to a strong start in 2013-14, averaging 26.3 points per game and 8.0 rebounds per game. He opened the season with 28 points and 13 boards against Weber State and followed that with a 31-point effort at Stanford.
Last season, Haws was seventh in the nation and first in the West Coast Conference in scoring at 21.7 points per game. He led BYU to a 24-12 record and a trip to the NIT Semifinals in Madison Square Garden.
BYU returns to action on Monday against Texas in Kansas City in a tournament contest.