Saturday, December 7, 2013
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Delon Wright took over in the second half, and it was all Utah needed to pull away from Fresno State.
Wright scored 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting, dished out 12 assists and collected five rebounds to lead the Utes to a 90-77 victory over the Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon.
Renan Lenz added 15 points, and Jordan Loveridge chipped in 13 points and 11 boards to help Utah (7-1) bounce back from a two-point loss to Boise State earlier in the week. The Utes shot 59.6 percent (34 of 57) from the field and 41.2 percent (7 of 17) from distance.
Marvelle Harris scored 22 points to lead Fresno State, but it was not enough to keep the Utes from snapping the Bulldogs (6-4) two-game winning streak. Three different starters, including Harris, fouled out during the second half.
Once Utah adjusted to Fresno State's zone defense, the Utes used defensive pressure to force bad shots and turnovers. Utah scored 17 points off 11 Bulldog turnovers. Utah also had an edge inside, outscoring Fresno State 44-30 in the paint.
Harris put on a one-man show early for Fresno State. He had 16 points on 6-of-10 shooting in the first half alone. The sophomore guard scored his team's first 10 points to put the Bulldogs out in front.
Fresno State used the momentum generated by Harris to build a five-point lead, eventually going up 18-13 on a 3-pointer from Allen Huddleston.
Utah did not stay down for long. The Utes rallied to tie the game on a layup from Jeremy Olsen and took their first lead at 24-22 when Kenneth Ogbe drove for another layup.
Paul Watson made a pair of 3-pointers to help Fresno State get back in front. The Bulldogs eventually boosted their lead to 39-32 when Harris drained a jumper with 2:49 remaining before halftime.
Utah chipped away at the lead during the final two minutes of the half. The Utes started slashing to the rim and getting layups. On the other end of the court, Utah pressured Fresno State into committing turnovers and finally got the stops it needed.
It helped Utah finally catch and pass the Bulldogs before halftime. The Utes took a 40-39 lead into the locker room after Renan Lenz made a pair of go-ahead free throws with 3.2 seconds left.
Utah kept pressing down on the gas pedal after halftime. The Utes opened the second half with six unanswered points, making a 14-0 run from the 2:49 mark in the first half, and took a 46-39 lead on a putback from Lenz with 17:31 remaining.
Fresno State closed the gap once more, cutting Utah's lead to 56-52 on Cezar Guerrero's 3-pointer. The Utes broke open the game soon after behind Wright's explosive play. The junior guard made four straight baskets and a pair of free throws over a three minute stretch — culminating in a 3-pointer and driving layup on consecutive possessions — to give Utah a 75-59 lead with 7:04 remaining.