Salt Lake City, UT (SportsNetwork.com) - Brandon Taylor scored 19 points and No. 25 Utah pulled away down the stretch for a season-opening 90-72 win over Ball State on Friday night.
Jordan Loveridge and Jakob Poeltl added 18 points apiece for the Utes (1-0), who shot better than 61 percent in the second half to turn a five-point game into a blowout.
Utah lost to Saint Mary's in the first round of the NIT last season but was picked by media members to finish just ahead of Colorado in second place behind Arizona in the Pac-12 this season.
Sean Sellers had a game-high 26 points to lead Ball State (0-1) and Zavier Turner and Jeremie Tyler combined to score 26.
The Cardinals, who play in the Mid-American Conference, lost 13 of their last 14 games last season to finish 5-25 for the worst record in program history.
They never led Utah but kept it close late in the first half with an extended 18-10 run over the last 8 1/2 minutes to trim the deficit to 35-30 at the break.
It was a four-point game with 7:47 remaining before the Utes took control with a 22-4 run sparked by consecutive jumpers from Delon Wright and keyed by seven points from Loveridge. It gave the Utes a 22-point lead with 2:14 remaining.
Wright scored 13 points and Poeltl had 10 rebounds for Utah, which plays at current No. 16 San Diego State on Tuesday as part of the Maui Invitational ... Ball State faces Indiana-Kokomo on Monday.