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Utah ends 2 game skid; beats Arizona State 86-63

(AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

By JOHN COON

Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Delon Wright scored 22 points, collected nine rebounds and had six assists and Utah blocked a season-high 12 shots to fuel an 86-63 victory over Arizona State on Sunday night.

Jordan Loveridge added 18 points and six rebounds, Renan Lenz had 14 and Princeton Onwas 12 to help the Utes (18-9, 7-8 Pac-12) break a two game losing streak. Utah dominated around the basket from start to finish. The Utes outrebounded the Sun Devils 44-36 and had a 38-26 edge in points in the paint.

Shaquielle McKissic had 16 points, while Egor Koulechov and Bo Barnes added 11 apiece for Arizona State (19-8. 8-6) which has lost two straight after winning six of its previous seven games.

Arizona State shot just 30.8 percent (20 of 65) from the field and 22.2 percent (6 of 27) from distance. Leading scorer Jahii Carson was held to just eight points on 3-of-13 shooting.

Utah endured no such trouble finding an offensive rhythm. The Utes shot 53.8 percent (28 of 52) from the field and hit 71.4 percent (25 of 35) from the free throw line.

Utah set an aggressive tone on defense in the early minutes. The Utes blocked five shots alone in the game's first 3 minutes. It provided the spark Utah needed to ignite its offense.

The Utes ran off 11 unanswered points and staked out an early 14-4 lead. Utah got the run going with a 3-pointer from Brandon Taylor and Jeremy Olsen punctuated the spurt with a layup to give the Utes their first double digit lead.

It got much worse for Arizona State before halftime. Lacking any momentum on offense, the Sun Devils struggled to keep pace with Utah. Arizona State shot just 26.5 percent from the field in the first half. The Sun Devils also failed to cash in from the free throw line, hitting just 4 of 11 of their free throws.

Utah did not waste any time taking advantage. The Utes strung together an 18-3 run over nearly 6 minutes culminating in a 3-pointer from Loveridge. It pushed their lead to 38-12 with 6:52 remaining before halftime.

Utah carved out its largest first-half lead when Taylor drilled another 3-pointer with 49 seconds left to put the Utes ahead 50-23.

Arizona State chipped away at the lead in the second half. The Sun Devils used an 8-0 run to threaten a comeback against Utah. Koulechov punctuated the run with a 3-pointer, trimming Utah's lead to 61-48 with 10:22 remaining.

Loveridge buried his own 3-pointer on the ensuing possession to halt the run and get the Ute offense back on track again. It marked the beginning of an 18-5 spurt for Utah - which Loveridge capped with a layup - that gave the Utes a 79-53 lead with 3:48 left in the game.

Updated February 23, 2014

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