SALT LAKE CITY – Delon Wright scored 24 points, collected seven rebounds and dished out six assists to lead Utah to a 93-62 victory over Alabama State on Saturday night.
Kenneth Ogbe added a career-high 19 points, Dakarai Tucker chipped in 12 and Jakob Poeltl added 11 points and eight rebounds for the Utes. Utah (5-1) won all three games it played during its annual Thanksgiving tournament by an average margin of 35 points.
Jamel Waters scored 19 points to lead the Hornets, who trailed wire to wire. Alabama State (2-3) kept it close for much of the first half, but could not overcome cold shooting to open the second half.
The Hornets could do nothing to counter Utah's quickness. The Utes forced 17 turnovers and finished with a 30-5 advantage in points off those plays.
Utah scored on five straight possessions to open the game. Kenneth Ogbe drained a 3-pointer, then stole the ball and took it in for a layup to culminate that stretch and give the Utes a quick 13-2 lead.
Alabama State quickly fought back. Jamel Waters hit a pair of three-pointers to cap a small Hornets run and cut Utah's lead to 19-16 with 12:00 minutes left in the first half.
Dallin Bachynski prevented Alabama State from getting closer. Bachynski made baskets on back-to-back possessions to give the Utes a little more breathing room. Then Dakari Tucker added a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to push Utah's lead back out to eight at 26-18.
The Hornets cooked up one more first-half run. Alabama State scored seven unanswered points, capped by a 3-pointer from Bobby Brown off a steal, to cut Utah's lead back to three at 32-29 with 5:53 left before halftime.
Momentum swung back in Utah's favor after Robert Ojeah committed a flagrant foul, undercutting Ogbe as he drove to the basket. Ogbe made a pair of free throws and Wright drained a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to help fuel a 11-0 run that put Utah ahead 43-29 with 3:02 remaining in the half.
The Utes erased any comeback threat early in the second half. Utah got cooking when it scored baskets on three straight possessions - a layup from Wright, a 3-pointer from Ogbe and a dunk by Reyes - to sprint out to a 56-35 lead with 16:52 remaining.
Alabama State missed 12 consecutive shots to open the second half before Wendell Lewis broke the ice on a jumper with 14:29 left. Dakarai Tucker scored three straight baskets to fuel an 11-0 Utah run before the Hornets could get another basket. Tucker's outburst helped give the Utes a 68-38 lead with 11:52 remaining.
Utah: Early turnovers helped Utah lead from start to finish. The Utes forced 11 first-half turnovers and scored 21 points off those plays. They held a 21-3 edge over the Hornets in that category by halftime. . Utah held Alabama State 23.8 points below its season scoring average. . The Utes had a 40-16 advantage in points in the paint.
Alabama State: The Hornets were the preseason pick to win the SWAC after returning 11 players - including all five starters - this season. . Jamel Waters averaged 16.0 points and 5.3 assists to lead Alabama State over the three-game Utah Thanksgiving Tournament.
Utah hosts Wichita State on Wednesday.
Alabama State hosts Jacksonville State on Saturday.