SALT LAKE CITY — Running into a hot-shooting Utah team didn’t help Washington State as the Utes posted a 76-64 Pac-12 men’s basketball victory Saturday.
For a second consecutive game, Rylan Jones made plays all over the court for Utah in critical moments. WSU could do nothing to stop it from happening.
Jones scored 24 points, one shy of his career-high. The freshman guard helped Utah win its second consecutive game by doing a little bit of everything on offense.
Jones drove the lane and got to the free-throw line. He made timely three-pointers and layups. He also dished highlight-reel assists to teammates.
It left the Cougars flat-footed on defense as the game progressed. His performance also left teammates in awe.
“He’s one of the best there is,” Utah forward Mikael Jantunen said. “Sometimes, you’ll stop and watch too, which is probably not a good thing to say. But he’s a great player.”
Jantunen scored 16 points off the bench to help power the offense. Branden Carlson added 12 points for the Utes
Utah shot 63% from the field to win its 12th consecutive game in the series with Washington State (12-9, 3-5 Pac-12).
The Utes (12-7, 3-4) have not lost to the Cougars at home since 1946.
Much of that efficient shooting came from attacking the rim. Utah scored 40 points in the paint and outrebounded Washington State 30-21.
“They’re pretty big and pretty good inside,” Cougars coach Kyle Smith said. “We were playing with foul trouble and they just kept trying to go inside.”
Isaac Bonton scored 21 points to lead Washington State. The Cougars shot 46% from the field, but allowed Utah to score 19 points off 13 turnovers.
Washington State heated up from the perimeter early in the second half, making four three-pointers. Bonton made the final one in that stretch to help the Cougs gain a 43-42 lead. Utah surged back with a 9-0 run.
Jones later scored four consecutive baskets and set up another to extend Utah’s lead to 71-60 with 3:35 to go.
“He dominated the end of the game,” Smith said. “If we do a better job on him, maybe we get an opportunity to get it down to one possession and make something happen.”