Wright, Loveridge lead No. 13 Utah over Washington St. 67-59
PULLMAN, Wash. (AP) Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak didn't think there was anything pretty about his team's victory over Washington State, except the outcome.
Delon Wright scored 18 points and Jordan Loveridge added 16 as the 13th-ranked Utes rallied to beat Washington State 67-59 on Thursday night.
''It was ugly but I'll take it,'' Krystkowiak said. ''It was a grinder.''
Utah trailed early in the second half, but closed the game with a 26-11 run to remain in second place in the Pac-12.
''We didn't play offense until the last 10 minutes,'' Krystkowiak said. ''We'll take the W.''
Utah went with a shorter lineup in a bid to generate more offense, and Wright and Brandon Taylor responded with big second halves.
''We put shooters on the floor,'' Krystkowiak said. ''But we're not going to reach our goals without a better interior performance.''
Taylor added 11 points for Utah (23-6, 13-4).
DaVonte Lacy scored 16 points for Washington State (12-17, 6-11)
Utah, coming off a loss to No. 5 Arizona, shot just 40 percent from the field but the Utes won the rebound battle 37-26.
The game was tied at 23 at halftime, and Washington State hit three 3-pointers to take a 32-26 lead early in the second half.
Utah came back, but an 8-1 run put Washington State up 40-32. Utah got within three points, but Washington State pushed the lead back to 48-41.
But Washington State suddenly went cold, missing three straight free throws, just as the Utes heated up.
Two 3-pointers by Taylor and one by Loveridge highlighted a 12-2 run that put the Utes ahead 53-50 with 5 minutes left.
Loveridge scored and Wright hit four straight free throws to push Utah's lead to 59-52 with 2:21 left.
Lacy made three free throws to bring Washington State within 62-57 with 51 seconds left, but the Cougars were forced to foul and could not close the gap.
''They made some big shots, big shots,'' Washington State coach Ernie Kent said. ''We let a game get away from us again.''
''It was a defensive slugfest,'' Kent added, after his team shot just 40.8 percent.
In addition to his 18 points, Wright had eight rebounds and eight assists. He made 4 of 6 shots from the field and all eight of his free throws.
Loveridge had three 3-pointers in the game and the Utes were 19 of 24 from free throw line.
''They're 13th-ranked for a reason,'' Lacy said. ''Good teams you can slow them down, but you can't stop them.''
Jordan Railey had 12 points in the first half, but foul trouble and Utah's small lineup kept him off the court for much of the second half.
Washington State played well inside, outscoring Utah 26-16 in the paint.
Only 2,690 people showed up for the game, causing Kent to bemoan the lack of energy in the cavernous Beasley Coliseum.
Utah: Utes are beating Pac-12 opponents by an average of 23.4 points. ... Utah has not allowed an opponent to score more than 72 points this season. ... Utah is eighth in the nation in scoring defense at 55.8 points per game, and allows opponents to shoot only 37.5 percent.
Washington State: The Cougars trail the all-time series 17-4. ... Washington State is 48-223 all-time versus Top 25 opponents. ... Lacy is the only Cougar to start every game this season. ... Josh Hawkinson leads the Pac-12 with 18 double-doubles this season. ... Lacy passed Klay Thompson in the previous game to become WSU's career 3-point leader.
Utah: At Washington on Saturday
Washington State: Hosts Colorado on Saturday