Utah proved it can win a dog fight with a good team, even early in the season. The 16th-ranked Utes (2-0) avenged last year’s loss to San Diego State by beating the Aztecs (1-1) 81-76 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
In a game with 9 lead changes and 7 times tied, all five Ute starters scored in double figures, and mostly by necessity. Utah’s bench players did not score until Brekkott Chapman hit a three-pointer with 5:51 left in the game. San Diego State’s bench outscored the Utes 27-7.
Utah started making just 8 of 16 free throws, but finished making 18 of their last 20, crucial to maintaining a lead as the clock wound down.
Utah point guard Brandon Taylor made his first field goal of the season from behind the three-point line as the halftime buzzer sounded, completing a 17-5 run to close out the first half. The Utes held their largest lead of 9 a minute and a half into the 2nd half. San Diego State retaliated with a 14-5 run. The two teams traded baskets until crunch time, when the Utes were unshaken at the free throw line.
Jakob Poeltl, Jordan Loveridge, and Kyle Kuzma, who produced most of the Utes’ offense against Southern Utah, stayed hot, combining for 50 of Utah’s 81 points. Lorenzo Bonam scored 14, and Taylor finished with 10 points.
Utah has now won 37 consecutive home games against unranked opponents. The win snaps SDSU’s 6-game winning streak over the Utes, and 10-game win streak over teams from the state of Utah.
The Utes will play three times in Puerto Rico between Thursday and Sunday. You’ll hear coverage of all three games on ESPN 700.
Larry Krystkowiak Postgame:
Jakob Poeltl and Jordan Loveridge Postgame:
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