The hot shooting streak for the Utes continued as they dominated the Sun Devils in the Huntsman Center on Thursday night, beating ASU 81-46.
Utah finished the game shooting 44 percent from the field and overall had 16 three-pointers for the game. ASU, on the other hand, finished shooting just 25 percent and had 15 turnovers, which translated to 25 points for the Utes. Twelve of those turnovers came in the first half, which was more than the 10 first-half points the Sun Devils mustered together.
Head coach Larry Krystkowiak didn’t see any negatives in the game aside from rebounding. He thinks his team had a solid performance across the board.
“I was really impressed with our guys,” Krystkowiak said. “We shared the basketball, made threes, defended really well. Put one goal on the board, to have less than 10 turnovers — we had nine. We continued to move the ball well, and the guys are having fun.”
The game was never competitive, and Utah was in the driver’s seat the entire night. Brekkott Chapman was the high scorer for the Utes and finished with 15 points off of the bench. Senior Jordan Loveridge followed with 14 points, while Brandon Taylor followed with 12.
It was all Utah right from the opening tip. Loveridge knocked down back-to-back threes to open up the game. After that, Taylor sunk one from deep, and then Loveridge came back to hit his third triple in as many tries to give Utah a 12-0 lead.
It didn’t stop there. Taylor soon got another three, extending the lead to 15 points, still blanking ASU to this point.
“I think they tried to live with outside shots, and we’re a great shooting team and they picked their poison,” Loveridge said.
ASU eventually got on the board to make the score 15-2, but it didn’t get much better for the Sun Devils from there. After Jakob Poeltl got a bucket in the paint, Dakarai Tucker came off of the bench to get the three to drop and make the score 20-2. Lorenzo Bonam followed with a bucket to get the lead up to 20.
After a made shot from Chapman, Tucker nailed another three and the Utes were up 27-2. Utah eventually would run the score up to 30-2.
After ASU finally made its second bucket of the game, even the fans in the Huntsman Center started to cheer for them. However, Taylor responded with yet another three-pointer, his fourth of the game. With 3:17 left in the half, Utah lead 35-8.
With two minutes left in the half, Loveridge got another three to fall and Utah lead 42-8, threatening to hold the Sun Devils to under double digits for the half. But after a couple of traded buckets, the Utes headed to the locker rooms with a 44-10 advantage.
Utah was shooting 48.5 percent from the field and 40.9 percent from three-point range, but its defense was the story, holding ASU to just 14.3 percent shooting overall, including a 0-for-9 mark from three-point range.
“Going in this game, we really wanted to focus on defense,” Chapman said.
After a made free throw from ASU, Bonam made a three-pointer for the Utes, but the Sun Devils responded with a couple of their own to make the score 47-17.
After draining a few more three-pointers, Utah lead 64-26 with 10 minutes left in the game. The majority of Utah’s role players soon took a seat on the bench and the subs were given a decent amount of playing time and continued to run up the score for the Utes.
Krystkowiak knows there are things to brush up on from this game, but in the end he is proud of the way his team played.
“We had mistakes — basketball is a mistake-filled game,” Krystkowiak said. “Overall, I thought we were pretty darn mature. We try to play the right way regardless of score.”
Utah returns to the court this Saturday at 12 p.m. MST against Arizona.