Runnin’ Utes Beat ASU on the Road, 88-82

_DSC0113 Kim Brenneisen

Despite some mishaps from the free throw line late in the game, the Runnin’ Utes held off a last ditch effort from the ASU Sun Devils to win its first Pac-12 road game, 88-82.

Up by 10 points with about four minutes left to play, nothing was quite set in stone. ASU fought to get back into the game, and Utah missed a couple of front ends of 1-and-1s. As Utah was trying to secure a win, Lorenzo Bonam missed a free throw that could have made it a two possession game. As a result it was a three point game with 26 seconds left to play, but the Sun Devils misfired from three point range, and Utah held on for the win.

Kyle Kuzma had a game high 26 points and 12 rebounds. David Collette and JoJo Zamora each had 18 points, and Devon Daniels finished with 15 points. Overall, the Utes shot 54.8 percent from the floor, and they were 8-of-16 from three point range.

“We earned [the win], and we stayed true to our gameplan,” Kuzma said on ESPN700. “We did a great job executing on offense and locking down on defense.”

Following a loss to the Wildcats, the Utah Utes remained in Arizona for the Saturday afternoon matchup with ASU. Zamora nailed back-to-back three pointers to open up the game, and Utah jumped out to a quick nine point lead, 11-2, less than four minutes into the action.

ASU then went on a 9-0 run to tie the game at 11. The teams stayed fairly even with each other, but ASU took its first lead of the game when it went up 18-16. Utah went into a five minute scoring slump, and the Sun Devils worked their way to a nine point advantage, 25-16.

Tyler Rawson made a free throw to end the scoring drought, but the Utes still struggled shooting from the floor as ASU went on to take a 27-17 lead. Kuzma knocked down a jumper, Utah’s first field goal in seven minutes, and Utah kept the game close.

At the end of the first half ASU held a 37-34 lead over the Runnin’ Utes.

“[ASU] did a great job of shooting in the first half,” Kuzma said.

Zamora hit the first shot of the second half, but the Sun Devils were firing on all cylinders, and they quickly went up 43-36. Utah wouldn’t let it get out of hand, and thanks to some defensive stops, the Utes made it a three point game again.

Following another ASU basket Kuzma hit a three pointer, then Daniels hit a jumper, and it was a tie game, 45-45, with less than 16 minutes to play. Utah took a slight 47-45 lead following a shot from Collette. ASU wouldn’t stay down for long, and ASU hit a three to retake the lead, 48-47, but it wasn’t enough to stop Utah.

“We got a little more aggressive [in the second half,]” said Utah assistant coach Andy Hill.

The Utes scored nine unanswered points, and Kuzma had a couple of three pointers as Utah went on to take a 59-51 lead. However, ASU went on a 6-0 run to close the gap to two points. Then Daniels made a three pointer to give Utah a five point cushion.

Utah worked its way to a 10 point lead, but Collette was whistled for a technical. ASU went 1-of-2 from the line, and on its subsequent possession got a bucket, to make it a seven point game with about five minutes left to play.

Collette would use a mismatch to his advantage, and he made it a nine point game, 73-64. Kuzma was soon whistled for fouling a three point shooter, and ASU got within six points. Daniels made his way to the hoop to give Utah a 75-67 lead. And although Kuzma missed a layup he got his own rebound and put it back up to make it a 10 point game.

ASU wasn’t giving up yet, and the Sun Devils cut the deficit in half as Utah held on to a 78-73 lead. The Sun Devils had to resort to fouling, but Utah struggled from the line. However, the Utes did enough in the end to beat ASU on its home floor.

Utah will take on USC on Thursday night at 7 p.m. in the Huntsman Center.