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Loveridge Shows Improved Game at Night with the Runnin' Utes

Utah small forward Jordan Loveridge led both the red and white teams to victory at the Night with the Runnin' Utes.
Utah small forward Jordan Loveridge led both the red and white teams to victory at the Night with the Runnin' Utes.
Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

As the old adage goes, practice makes perfect. The time that Jordan Loveridge put in over the summer, traveling to China with the Pac-12 All-Star Team and working with his father seems to have payed off. Loveridge finished with 27 points on the evening as he led the White team to a 35-17 win and then powered the Red squad to a 29-21 victory at the annual Night with the Runnin' Utes. Utah split up and played a 16-minute contest before shuffling the teams at halftime and going another 16 minutes. Loveridge, the 6-6 junior, finished 8-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-5 from downtown.

"Jordan has worked really hard at his game," head coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "Playing the '3' and the '4' are completely different in what we run offensively. He's made some adjustments to his game and it's been hard. Moving him around gets him out of the post and now he has smaller players chasing him. That allows him to have better looks with his jumper."

"We wanted to just get up and down the floor tonight," Loveridge said. "It's tougher than usual because we have to get back and defend. I worked in the offseason with my dad and changed my shot a little so that seemed to help tonight on the offensive end. Another thing I try to do is play against the best player in the gym, and I think that has help me improve as an all-around player."

In the first game, the White team cruised behind Loveridge and Delon Wright (4-of-5 shooting, 10 points). After halftime, Loveridge continued to singe the nets, finishing with 15 points in a 29-21 win for the Red team. On the evening, the junior was 8-of-11 from the field, 4-of-5 on 3-pointers and 7-for-7 at the stripe.

Wright finished the evening, as he always does, stuffing the box score with 12 points, four rebounds, four assists, and a pair of steals. The senior also canned his only 3-point attempt of the evening.

Austrian 7-footer Jakob Poeltl, seeing his first collegiate action, scored 12 points, pulled down five rebounds, and swatted away two shots. Isaiah Wright also impressed with 12 points.

"I think it may be easier for a big guy as a newcomer to contribute," Krystkowiak said. "Jakob runs the floor well and changes shots at the rim. Isaiah has a had a lot to learn, handling an offense and dealing with a lot of responsibility. When the popcorn's popping though, he really shines. He's ahead of the curve with the way he defends and he hit some shots tonight. From a coaching perspective, it's really fun to come and work with these guys"

The teams combined to shoot 45% from the floor (34-of-75), 39% from distance (11-of-28), and 95% from the line (20-of-21).