Utes knock off #25 UCLA
Just a couple of days ago, Utah's season appeared to be going down the drain after road losses to Washington and a horrible Washington State team. The Utes returning back home is just what the doctor ordered as they completed the sweep of the LA schools. Beating USC isn't much to write home about, but knocking off UCLA is another signature for Larry Krystkowiak and is huge as he continues to to rebuild the Utah basketball program.
UCLA came into the game ranked #25 in the nation and 3-1 in conference play. They had just knocked off Colorado and were playing some good ball. Utah led most of the first half and and went into the break with a 10-point lead. The Utes built the lead to as big as 17 points in the second half, but the inevitable UCLA run would come. The Bruins got back into the game by playing a 2-2-1 full court press that really caused Utah to panic. Because of the pressure, UCLA was able to get easy buckets and force Utah to make bad passes which led to extra UCLA possessions. Utah went on a mini-run of their own to get the lead back to 10 at 60-50 with 7:27 remaining. The Bruins would make one final push behind the play of Kyle Anderson and Zach LaVine and pull with three at 69-66. A couple turnovers by UCLA and a few made free-throws by the Utes put this game away as the Utes completed the upset by defeating UCLA 74-69.
Jordan Loveridge led the Utes with 17 points, 9 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal and really had one of his better games as a Ute. Delon Wright had another ridiculous game by going for 12 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists, 3 steals and 2 blocks. Brandon Taylor shot the ball well by making 4-8 including 2-5 from beyond the arc. Taylor also added 4 rebounds, 4 assist and a steal to round out a solid game for the starting point guard. UCLA was carried Kyle Anderson who had a game-high 28 points because of ridiculous 10-16 shooting. Anderson also had 7 rebounds and 7 assists, but did also have 5 costly turnovers. Freshman star Zach Lavine scored 15 points, grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 3 assists. In last year's game, the Wear twins were a headache for the Utes. On Saturday they were held in check by combining for just 9 points and 6 rebounds.
Larry K has a pretty good resume of home victories since he has been at Utah (wins over Boise State, Colorado, BYU, #25 UCLA and #19 Oregon), but the time is now to get some big wins on the road. As much as Utah has improved over the last season and a half, they still have just one road victory since joining the Pac-12. Utah will have some opportunities to get road wins as they travel to face the Arizona schools and Colorado. Winning at Arizona seems to be near impossible right now, but Utah is more than capable of winning at ASU and Colorado. Winning both of those games would be a surprise, winning one of those games is expected, but losing both would be disappointing and deflating. Utah travels to Tempe to take on the Sun Devils Thursday night at 7 on the Pac-12 Network.
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