This is an archived article that was published on in 2015, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Early into their Saturday afternoon game against Indiana-Purdue Fort Wayne, it seemed the Runnin' Utes were hitting the snooze button.

But once they woke up, they made quick work of the visiting Mastodons by following their tried-and-true formula so far this season: feeding the post.

Utah (7-1) shot 71 percent in the second half, scoring 50 points in the paint in a 96-79 win, the program's 25th straight at the Huntsman Center against a non-conference opponent.

Leading by only 3 points at the half, Utah took off in the final 20 minutes by working down low. Sophomore center Jakob Poeltl led the attack again with 21 points on 10 for 12 shooting, but was aided by his frontcourt mates Jordan Loveridge (18 points) and Kyle Kuzma (16 points).

While Poeltl offered his usual variety of hook shots and lay-ups — and a two-fisted dunk off the baseline — he flashed his passing potential, leading the team with six assists and opening up Utah's attack with his post presence.

It seemed to take a while for the Utes to realize their size advantage: Poeltl had only four shot attempts in the first half, which Krystkowiak said there was "no excuse" for. But when he got more involved, the rest of the offense blasted off.

"I thought he did a nice job of slowing down and making the right play," Krystkowiak said. "He's not afraid to pass. We need to make sure everyone on our team is continuing to think that way and feel that way. We need to take really good shots."

The comeback wasn't led by Poeltl alone: Junior guard Lorenzo Bonam scored 15 points off the bench, all in the second half. Bringing energy off steals and leading fast breaks, the athletic junior college addition attacked the rim and brought a jolt of life from an otherwise listless back court.

Bonam was taken out of the starting lineup after a few subpar practices preparing for BYU, Krystkowiak said, but he was impressed on Saturday afternoon as Utah outscored the Mastodons 57-43 in the second period.

The hard-charging finish was a dramatic turnaround from a lethargic start, which several Utes acknowledged was at least in part thanks to a bit of a figurative hangover from the BYU game on Wednesday night.

"It's always going to be more juiced when you play BYU or a team like BYU," Loveridge said. "Maybe we didn't know how good this team was, because they do have some good playmakers, some great players and they were hitting shots on us."

If Mo Evans was in the scouting report, it wasn't clear from the first five minutes: The Mastodons guard scored 11 before the first media timeout. IPFW led by as much as 7 before the Utes were able to shake out of a foggy start.

Throughout the first half, the Utes looked mixed-up on defense, not closing out on shooters or leaving at least one Mastodon open on faulty rotations.

Eventually the Utes started shaking free of IPFW, which was only 3 for 14 during a critical early stretch in the second half. Still, the Mastodons hit 13 shots from 3-point range in the game, giving Utah a few things to iron out before a tough game at Wichita State in a week's time.

"We just got to go back to our bread and butter and just play hard and just play Utah basketball," Kuzma said. "If we play hard, that's going to keep us in a lot of games. If we don't, I don't know what's going to happen."

Twitter: @kylegoon —


R The Utes shoot 71 percent and score 34 points in the paint in final 20 minutes.

•┬áJakob Poeltl leads with 21 points, adding six rebounds and six assists.

• Jordan Loveridge adds 18 points, and Kyle Kuzma scores 16 for Utah.