The No. 13-ranked Runnin' Utes ended a 7-game losing streak in Provo, dating back to 2005, with their 65-61 win over the BYU Cougars Wednesday night. Despite poor foul shooting down the stretch (Utes made just 19-of-30 from the line, 63.3 percent), Utah hung on to extend their rivalry winning streak to two.
Utah's Swiss Army Knife of a guard, Delon Wright, again did it all and stuffed the stat sheet, leading the Utes in every statistical category. Wright scored 18 points, pulled down 11 rebounds, dished out three assists, blocked two shots, and stole the ball twice. In fact, Wright's steal off BYU star guard Tyler Haws, behind the back juke of Anson Winder and dunk on Kyle Collinsworth was worth an ESPN SportsCenter Top 10 play of the night (No. 3 on the countdown).
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>No. 13 Utah grinds out 65-61 win on road over BYU. Delon Wright leads Utes with 18 points and this nifty dunk. <a href="http://t.co/ch4mTFTngi">http://t.co/ch4mTFTngi</a></p>— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) <a href="https://twitter.com/SportsCenter/status/542896503422189568">December 11, 2014</a></blockquote> <script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
Utah was without star forward Jordan Loveridge, who scored 21 points and almost single-handedly dismissed the visiting Cougars in Salt Lake City 81-64 last season. This season, Loveridge was watching the rivalry from the bench, recovering from knee surgery. But the absence of Loveridge, the raucous 20,900-strong BYU crowd, the Cougars' throw-back powder blue uniforms, or even ill-advised comments from Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak could derail the Top 25 Runnin' Utes.
Utah led by as many 11 points down the stretch, but foul shooting again prevented Utah from putting their rivals away. BYU continued to charge into the final minutes, cutting the Utes lead to just three points under a minute left to play. But Haws couldn't sink an open three-pointer that would have tied the game. Instead, the Cougars fouled Utah guard Dakarai Tucker, who sank one of two free throws, and providing the final four-point margin.
Utes sophomore guard Kenneth Ogbe finished with seven points, four rebounds, and, among others, played solid defense on the nation's third leading scorer, Haws. Freshman forwards Brekkott Chapman and Kyle Kuzma provided spark, athleticism, and scoring off the bench, finishing with eight and seven points respectively.
The home team did a very good job defending and doubling Utah center Jakob Poeltl. BYU limited the talented freshman to just six points and seven rebounds. The Austrian 7-footer also continued his struggles from the free throw line, going 0-for-3 on the night.
Haws led BYU (who dropped to 7-3 on the season) with 23 points, also collecting eight rebounds; however, the senior guard shot just 9-of-22 from the field (41 percent, 10 points below his season average). Point guard Kyle Collinsworth added 17 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.
Utah out-rebounded the hometown Cougars 43-31 and held them to their lowest scoring output of the season. BYU entered the game leading the nation in scoring at 94.6 points per game. Since Krystkowiak took over the Utes program, BYU hasn't scored more than 64 points against the stout Utah defense.
Utah improves to 7-1 on the season, 1-1 on the road, and carries the momentum into their toughest game to date, taking on No. 10 Kansas at 1:15 p.m. MT in Kansas City, Mo. at the Sprint Center.