Conference play is upon us, and Utah was ready. Credit the grueling non-conference schedule against the likes of Kansas, San Diego State, and Wichita State because the Utes weren't about to have a letdown against arguably the worst team in the Pac 12 as they steamrolled the Trojans of USC behind a balanced attack that saw 4 players reach double figures and 10 players overall put points on teh board in a 79-55 win in Salt Lake City.
What We Liked
Loveridge Looking Good- No rust for Loveridge who has led the team in scoring in both games since his return from injury. His 3-point prowess really helps Utah space the floor and makes distributing easier for Delon Wright.
Delon Wright Fills the Stat Sheet- 11 points (on only 8 shots) and 10 assists for the All American to-be. The sequence in the second half where he made a basket, then stole the ball, missed a shot, got his own rebound and put it in was classic Wright.
Center Depth Devloping?- Dallin Bachynski was easily Utah's most effective big-man on Friday night. He looked quick, nimble, and engaged as the backup had 7 points, 2 boards, and 2 blocks. When he got the ball on the low block, USC had no answer and had to revert to fouling.
3 Point Shooting- Utah was 11 of 19 from deep. That's a 57.9% clip. Shoot like that every night and they'll go undefeated in the Pac 12.
First Half Defense- USC helped the cause, but the Utes completely shutdown the Trojan's offense in the first frame. Nothing was coming easy for the Men of Troy, especially inside.
What We Didn't Like
Second Half Defense- Too many open looks and easy baskets due to players not getting back. Plenty of baseline jumpers that were wide open for USC let them hang around longer than they should have.
Free Throw Shooting- 10 of 20 isn't going to get it done against the likes of Arizona, Washington, Cal, or Stanford on the road.
Poeltl's Fouls- Jakob is starting to have trouble in the foul department and it limited him to a largely ineffective 19 minutes. For a guy that needs minutes to continue to develop, the foul issues have kept him from going over 22 in each of the last four games.
A match-up with struggling UCLA on Sunday in Salt Lake City. The Bruins have lost four straight and fell at Colorado despite the Buffaloes missing their best player.
Utes Open Pac 12 Play With Big Win
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