TUCSON, AZ – Finishing its weekend off, No. 10 Arizona Basketball (12-3, 3-1) used a strong, second-half effort to propel them in a 92-73 win over Utah (11-4, 2-2).
Just days after blowing out a competitive Colorado team, No. 10 Arizona Basketball was back in McKale Center on Saturday evening, looking to close out its weekend action against the Mountain schools.
Returning to the hardwood against a competitive Utah team, the Wildcats would need yet another focused effort if they were going to beat the Utes. And luckily for us, Arizona was up to the challenge.
Fueled by 23 points from Caleb Love and Keshad Johnson's 20 points, the Wildcats came away with a dominant, 92-73 win, especially as 15 of Caleb's 23 points came in the second half, helping to put away the Utes.
But overall, it was a complete team effort in this one! Shooting a combined 38-63 (60.3 percent) from the field including 10-18 (55.6 percent) from three, all of Arizona's starters finished in double figures.
Arizona's bench would be a bit quieter in this one, as collectively, this group scored just a combined eight points.
Leading by three at the half, No. 10 Arizona Basketball exploded in the second half, running away from the Runnin' Utes!
Looking to close out its weekend on a high note, the Wildcats would be tested in this one for about the first 23 minutes or so as Utah kept this one close!
From the tip it was competitive! Arizona would jump out to an early lead, pulling ahead 6-2 after a fastbreak layup from Caleb Love with 18:27 to play, but unfortunately, Utah wouldn't back down, responding with a 7-0 run to make it 9-6 Utah just minutes later.
And much of the first half would be competitive too as both teams seemingly traded bucket after bucket!
Arizona would start to find a bit of a rhythm in the first half, pulling ahead by as many as nine after a dunk by Oumar Ballo made it 32-23, Cats with 5:01 to play.
Unfortunately, Utah wouldn't go quietly in this one! Continuing to attack Arizona, the Utes would respond with a 13-4 run to tie the game at 36-36 with 1:53 to play.
Luckily, Arizona would close out the half by outscoring Utah 6-3 in the final stretch, but this one was a little too close for comfort as the Wildcats entered halftime with a slim lead.
Leading by three points to start the second half, this one would remain competitive for a little bit, especially as Utah climbed within one after a turnaround jumper from Rollie Worster made it 44-43.
Moments later, Utah would have another answer as the Utes' Gabe Marsden converted on a driving layup to cut Arizona's lead to 47-45 with 17:14 to play.
And fortunately for us, that would be the closest the Utes would get from here on out!
As we've seen them do plenty of times, Arizona's prolific offense responded in kind, answering Utah's persistent push by going on a 12-0 run over the next three-plus minutes to make it 59-45, Arizona after Jaden Bradley converted on a steal that led to a fastbreak layup.
Continuing to bring the intensity, Arizona's defense would continue to frustrate the Utes which led to offense.
Arizona would eventually pull ahead by as many as 22 when Pelle Larsson hit a second-chance three-pointer to make it 86-64 in favor of the Cats with 3:06 to play.
Utah would close out the game by outscoring Arizona 9-6, but the game was already out of hand at that point as the Wildcats cruised to the 92-73 win over the visiting Utes!
With the win, the Wildcats improve to 12-3 (3-1) on the year and will resume conference basketball action next Saturday when they take on Washington State in Pullman.
Tip-off against the Cougars on Saturday is set for 4:00 PM MST and will be broadcast on Pac-12 Network.