SALT LAKE CITY — Close games have not been friendly to Utah in Pac-12 play this season. This time, though, the Utes wrote a new ending to a familiar script.
Brandon Taylor and Delon Wright combined to hit three of four free throws in the final 22 seconds and Kyle Anderson committed a costly turnover in the final seconds to help Utah surprise No. 25 UCLA 74-69 on Saturday.
The Utes dropped three of their first four league contests by a total of seven points and lost each game in the final seconds. So, when UCLA erased a double-digit deficit and got within a basket in the final minute, it looked like Utah’s worst nightmare was coming true again.
“It just shows we can finish,” Utah forward Jordan Loveridge said. “They made a big run. They were coming back and we stopped the run and made some free throws. It just shows we can win some close games.”
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Loveridge scored 17 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead a balanced attack that lifted the Utes (14-4, 3-3 Pac-12) to their first victory over the Bruins since the 1983 NCAA tournament. Wright, Taylor and Kenneth Ogbe each scored 12 points for Utah, which beat UCLA at home for the first time since 1928.
Kyle Anderson had 28 points, seven rebounds and seven assists for UCLA, and Zach LaVine of Bothell High scored 15 for the Bruins. UCLA (14-4, 3-2) stormed back from a 17-point deficit to get within two in the final minute, but could not overcome Anderson’s turnover.
“I like where we’re going,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “It’s always nice when you can learn a lesson and not lose a game. We’ve learned some lessons in these close games, but it’s not good medicine.”
Colorado rolls past USC, 83-62
BOULDER, Colo. — USC missed a slew of shots in the early going and No. 21 Colorado never gave the Trojans a chance to recover.
Josh Scott scored 20 points, Askia Booker had 13, and Colorado rebounded from its first home defeat to rout USC 83-62.
“We were getting every shot we wanted the first five minutes, we weren’t making them, and we weren’t getting stops on defenses which allowed them to push the lead up,” said USC’s Byron Wesley, who had nine points on 3-of-14 shooting from the field. “The first five minutes were the biggest part of the game, they were able to push the lead up to about 20 and we weren’t able to bounce back.”
Xavier Johnson and Jaron Hopkins had 10 points each for Colorado (15-4, 4-2), which sent USC (9-9, 0-5) to its fifth consecutive loss. USC’s Omar Oraby and J.T Terrell both had 16 points.