SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – After scoring a season-low 53 points against Washington, the Utes offense bounced back in a big way Saturday night against Washington State.
Timmy Allen led six players in double figures with 15 points, as the Utes blew past the Cougars, 88-70.
Both Gach scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half as the Utes built a 44-24 lead the break.
Charles Jones, Jr. and Riley Battin each added 11 points, while Sedrick Barefield and Parker Van Dyke chipped in 10 apiece for the Utes. Barefield also dished out seven assists.
“We fueled our defense by making shots, and I think that there’s always some type of correlation,” said head coach Larry Krystkowiak. “I think back at the Washington game and we weren’t bad defensively, but it’s really hard when you don’t see the ball going in. Overall, we graded out real well and get out in transition, it was less of a grind, when we do that, we don’t turn the ball over. That’s been the key, playing some defense and not turning the ball over.”
Parker threw down his first career dunk off of one of the team’s 11 steals that electrified his teammates.
“First dunk ever at Utah and it felt pretty good,” Van Dyke said. “When I got the steal, I was feeling good, legs were feeling good, so I’m a senior, might as well throw one down. We were really was kind of disappointed against Washington. We didn’t play up to our capabilities. So, we had a good practice yesterday, and we just tried to bounce back. So it was good to get a win.”
Utah (8-8, 2-2 Pac-12) snapped a two-game losing streak and beat the Cougars for the 17th consecutive time in Salt Lake City, dating back to 1946.
C.J. Elleby scored 21 points to lead Washington State. The Cougars (7-9, 0-3) have lost all eight games they have played outside Pullman this season.
Utah took a 11-5 lead on back-to-back layups from Gach after Washington State went nearly six minutes without scoring a basket. Wade ended the drought with a jumper and added a layup to punctuate a 6-0 run that tied it at 11.
Van Dyke kept the Cougars from actually taking the lead. He drained a 3-pointer to put Utah back in front. Then the senior guard stole the ball and took it in for a dunk. Van Dyke’s two baskets sparked a 15-0 run that gave the Utes a 26-11 lead.
Washington State opened a door for the decisive run by missing eight straight shots and committing three turnovers over a 4 1/2 minute stretch.
Utah came out on fire after halftime to completely pull away from the Cougars. The Utes scored baskets on seven straight possessions, culminating in a dunk from Jayce Johnson, to take a 62-32 lead with 13:19 remaining. All seven baskets were layups or dunks.
Utah next hosts Colorado January 20th.