Utes keep rolling at home, beat Washington State

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - Brandon Taylor had 16 points, eight rebounds and four assists while pacing six Utes in double figures during an 81-63 victory over Washington State on Saturday night in the Power of Pink game.

"To be successful we need consistency from all our guys," head coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "Hopefully performances like these last two get him on track as we head on the road. Brandon works hard and it hasn't been easy. We need to get some positive performances on the road. That's what's going to be key down the stretch.

Delon Wright added 11 points and nine assists for Utah, while Jordan Loveridge chipped in 13 points. The Utes (16-7, 5-6 Pac-12) beat the Cougars in their home arena for the 12th consecutive time. Utah has not lost a home game to Washington State since the first meeting between the two teams in 1946.

Jeremy Olsen scored 10 points and matched his career-high with eight rebounds, Dallin Bachynski did not miss a shot going 3-for-3 from the field and 4-for-4 from the line and Princeton Onwas also tallied 10 points, many on acrobatic, athletic plays.

"Princeton can defend the wing because he's big and strong," Krystkowiak added. "Hopefully he's gained some confidence from these last two outings. Someone every night who can play at the next level plays at the '2' and the '3' in this league. He's really coachable. We said at timeouts that if you get out and sprint, you'll get points at the other end. You want to get the arena going and that energy helps everyone when he makes plays like he did.

"I've always been defensive minded," Onwas said. "I have fun playing defense so that's what I want to try and bring. On offense, I was able to get out in transition and Brandon and Delon were able to find me."

DaVonte Lacy scored 22 points for the Cougars (9-14, 2-9) and D.J. Shelton added 19 points and 10 rebounds. It wasn't enough keep Washington State from losing for the ninth time in its last 12 games.

Utah dominated around the basket and in transition. The Utes outscored Washington State 42-18 in the paint, had a 10-0 edge in fast break points and shot 56.7 percent from the floor.

"We had a big edge in the paint," Krystkowiak stated. "We've done a decent job letting our bigs get to work down low. I thought we got out and finished pretty well in transition. We were hoping to get offensive rebounds and we did today. I like our ability to shoot the 3-pointer but we can't rely on that. A nice blend is what we need.

Washington State started cold on offense and never quite found a rhythm in the first half. The Cougars missed eight of their first nine shots from the field. They shot just 34.5 percent (10 of 29) from the field and 16.7 percent (2 of 12) from distance before halftime.

Utah took advantage, claiming a 9-3 lead. Wright converted a three-point play and a layup to fuel the scoring. Shelton brought the Cougars back within striking distance after making three baskets and assisting a layup by Lacy over four straight possessions to cut Utah's lead to 13-12.

That's as close as Washington State could get. The Utes scored 10 unanswered points -- culminating in an acrobatic layup from Princeton Onwas -- to take a 23-12 lead. Utah led by as much as 20 points before halftime. The Utes went ahead 42-22 when Taylor drove for a layup with 1:12 left in the half.

Washington State closed the gap again after halftime. The Cougars cut Utah's lead to ten after Lacy drilled back-to-back 3-pointers to make it 48-38. Loveridge cut to the hoop for a layup to stop the run and then he and Taylor each drained a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions to put Utah back ahead 56-40 with 11:54 remaining.

The Cougars had one more run left in them. Lacy hit another 3-pointer and a pair of 3-pointers to spark a 10-3 spurt for Washington State. When Ike Iroegbu capped the run with a 3-pointer, the Cougars trailed 59-50 with 8:53 left.

Utah slammed the door on comeback efforts after Taylor drilled a 3-pointer to spark a decisive 12-4 run. Utah capped the run with a slam dunk from Onwas and a layup from Olsen on back-to-back possessions to take a 72-54 lead with 4:39 remaining in the game.

The Utes hit the road next week with contests at USC and UCLA.

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