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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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No. 10 Utah routs UCLA 71-39

From the tip off to the final buzzer, the No. 10 Runnin’ Utes had complete control in their 71-39 wire-to-wire victory over UCLA on Sunday afternoon. Led by Delon Wright, who finished with 11 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals, Utah used contributions from nearly the entire lineup to send the Bruins home with their fifth straight loss.

For Jordan Loveridge and company, the win over a team with such a storied history like UCLA meant a lot, but realize this is life in the Conference of Champions.

“Any Pac-12 win is a good win,” Loveridge said. “Obviously, they’re UCLA and they’re a team with a lot prestige, but it’s just as important as USC on Friday.”

After losing the tip, the Utes responded by utilizing the seven-footer Jakob Poeltl for two quick buckets down low to take the early lead. That was just the beginning of a 17-5 run for Utah, showing off a quick offensive spurt, but it was the defense that really impressed.

“I thought our defense was really strong this game,” Utah head coach Krystkowiak said. “We kept UCLA down and everybody is buying into the effort. I want our guys to be of that mindset. It’s a unique game because we play defense and turn right around and play offense. Right now, our defense is really providing us a spark.”

Thanks to the defensive mindset, Utah held the Bruins to just 24.1 percent shooting from the field, including a 1-for-6 effort from behind the arc, and took a 32-15 lead going into the half.

In the second half, the Utes flexed their muscles on the glass, and finished out the game with a 42-28 rebounding advantage. Poeltl had the most of any Utah player with 10, while Chris Reyes and Loveridge each chipped in with five.

“I challenged our guys,” Krystkowiak said. “Rebounding and defense might be the two most important areas if you want to give yourself a chance to win. It’s something we are pretty proud of.”

When the game was well in hand,Krystkowiak dug deeper on his bench, as seldom-used player Austin Eastman got to see the court for the second straight game. The crowd favorite was able to get a shot off in his two minutes of action, but couldn’t convert.

In the end, it was the veteran point guard Wright who led the way in this game, and according to Krystkowiak, he is the ultimate team player.

“He is a stat-sheet stuffer. He is very selfless and not interested in dazzling anybody,” Krystkowiak said. “ He is a selfless guy and is all about winning and those individual accolades are going to take place because the team wins.”

Utah will stay at home when it plays Colorado on Wednesday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. MT.


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