The University of Utah Runnin’ Utes wreck the Sun Devils in Tempe 76-59 Thursday night. The Utes had to push through a sloppy start shooting and a confused defense settling down early enough to comfortably win. The Utes were led by Wooden Award candidate Delon Wright with 21 points and Junior forward Jordan Loveridge had 14. Brandon Taylor also quietly had an great night scoring 13.
The first half saw the Utes losing their men on defense and ASU doing a nice job at times forcing Utah’s defense to adjust to their pick and rolls. The Sun Devils were finding easy points at the rim which could be a concern when Utah faces Arizona this weekend as the Wildcats will look at the tape and try to mimic what the Sun Devil’s did well. Jakob Poeltl was needed on defense and offense and couldn’t stay out long for Utah. Jakob wouldn’t stay out long before quickly replacing Dallin Bachynski, who was getting lost on ASU Eric Jacobsen‘s pick and roll.
All six first half field goals for ASU were in the paint. Arizona State was 0 for 6 from long range while the Utes are 3 for 5 from beyond the arc. One of the first half highlights was Brekkott Chapman with a brilliant spin move on the left side putting the ball in off the glass to put the Utes up 11-6. He could be a starter if he learns to play both ends of the court. He was caught in the air shortly after on a fake shot and didn’t recover to try for a rebound. Champman and Bachynski were both in foul trouble by the end of the half (both with two). The Utes had a very balanced attack with five different Utes had scored within the first 5 minutes in the half. Kyle Kuzma also made a first half appearance as playing 10 different players while ASU played 11.
Ending the half the Sun Devil’s Eric Jacobsen had three fouls. ASU made their first basket that wasn’t in the paint with just under three minutes remaining in the half as Kody Justice makes a three.
HALFTIME: Utah 40, ASU 23. The Utes defense smothered the Sun Devils here in Tempe. Delon Wright lead with 12 points and 8 of those from the free throw line with no misses. Overall the Utes were shooting 54% from the floor and 12-12 from the line. Entering the game, Utah was ranked No. 255 in free throw percentage. Utah also had a plus-8 rebounding margin, and ASU only shot 34.6 percent from the floor.
The Second half saw Chris Reyes with the first missed free throw of the game for the Utes while ASU’s entire front court was in foul trouble: Jonathan Gilling with 4 fouls, Savon Goodman with 3, and ASU center Eric Jacobsen with 3.
The Utah highlight of the second half was one of the prettiest move from Dallin Bachynski. as he faked left and turned right and threw a jump hook over his left shoulder in front of the rim. ASU picked up their defense and started with a full court press that rattled Chapman for a possession or two and picked it up well following that.
ASU with a lot of second chance opportunities yet did not lead at any point during the game. ASU had 13 offensive rebounds as they continued to miss shots. Delon Wright scored 21 points & dished out six assists. When he’s at his best, few teams can stay with the Utes.
Items of note
Jordan Loveridge is just 42 points away from the 1000 point club to begin the game. After the game he is 14 points closer at 28.
Utah’s biggest PAC-12 conference road win prior to the ASU game was a 9-point win at Washington in 2013
Next up for the Utes with be the 10th ranked Arizona Wildcats who are coming off a big win over Colorado. Arizona has not lost a home game now for 31 games straight.