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Utah basketball: UCLA's second-half blitz dooms Utes

Published February 15, 2014 6:55 pm

U. hoops notes • UCLA stretched lead from 2 to 14 in first 5 minutes of 2nd half.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Los Angeles • It looked like a blitzkrieg.

Jordan Adams hit a 20-footer. Davis Wear hit a shot, and then a 3-pointer by Travis Wear. Adams completed a 3-point play and Norman Powell followed that with a thunderous one-handed dunk.

Before anyone could blink on the Utah sidelines, the game was over. Technically, UCLA's 80-66 conquest of Utah lasted 15 more minutes. But those 12 consecutive points to begin the second half ended things, for all intents and purposes.

"They started playing hard on the offensive and defensive ends of the floor," Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "They have a lot of talent and it's a tough matchup. When their [center] can step out and hit threes, it's hard to deal with that a lot of the time."

By the time Jordan Loveridge hit an 18-foot jumper, the offense had already teetered out of control. In those first five minutes, there were four missed shots and five turnovers. Utah never came close to recovering from the 45-31 deficit that started as a UCLA 33-31 halftime lead.

"We just didn't play hard coming out for the second half," Utes point guard Delon Wright said. "They came out and took it to us, and we didn't respond."

The battle within

Utah and UCLA featured the two most versatile players in the Pac-12 in Wright and Kyle Anderson. Neither disappointed, both showing off their ability to fill a stat sheet in every way. Anderson — the sophomore from New Jersey — scored 16 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and handed out five assists. He played 32 minutes and picked up a steal.

Wright was the only Ute who played well. He also had 16 points. He also had seven assists, six rebounds, three blocked shots and a steal, playing all 40 minutes.

Fortuitous loss

Even with Saturday's loss to the Bruins, Utah remains in seventh place in the Pac-12. This is possible because Washington suffered a home loss to California. Both teams are now 6-7 in the league with five games remaining. Utah holds the tiebreaker.

tjones@sltrib.com

Twitter: @tjonessltrib