You'd think being from Seattle, Washington would be used to the rain. Sunday night in the Jon M. Huntsman Center, Runnin' Utes forward Dakarai Tucker and guard Brandon Taylor made it rain all night on the visiting Huskies, leading No. 12-ranked Utah to the 77-56 win. Tucker finished with a career-high 19 points on 7-of-8 shooting, 4-of-5 from downtown, and Taylor had another big night, scoring 14 points on 5-of-9 from the field, 4-of-6 from deep. Together, the Rain Men shot 8-of-11 from beyond the three-point arc, which is a scorching 72.7 percent combined.
"I feel like we gelled a long time ago," Taylor said. "We have really good team chemistry."
Taylor is now shooting 46.5 percent from outside the arc this season, and the guard from Los Angeles, Calif. has simply been en fuego since the start of the Pac-12 season, shooting 61.8 percent from three-point range in conference games. (That's not a typo. Nearly 62 percent from behind the three-point line in seven conference games.)
"They run 'em in and out, multiple guys who can knock down threes," said Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar. "They made it very tough on us tonight. They're a very good basketball team."
And run them out Utah did, as point guard Delon Wright shot 1-of-2, finishing with just five points, but added nine assists, three rebounds, one block, and one steal. Forward Jordan Loveridge chipped in nine points on 3-of-4 shooting, as well as 2-of-3 from the cheap seats. In fact, Taylor and Loveridge started off the game by hitting back-to-back threes to stake Utah to a 6-0 lead.
Starting forward Chris Reyes joined Tucker and Taylor in double figures, scoring 11 points and also pulling down three rebounds.
Jakob Poeltl was hampered by the inside presence of national shot-blocking leader Robert Upshaw, but the big Austrian managed a respectable six points and seven rebounds. Upshaw finished with 13 points, nine rebounds, and five blocked shots, completely owning the paint in the second half. The Utes bigs were looking over their shoulders each time they put up a shot in the lane. Despite the disruption, Utah held a 34-26 advantage on points scored in the painted area.
"When you're playing against a team that every time you make a mistake, they make you pay, you're playing against a very tough basketball team," said Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar.
Utah out-rebounded Washington 30-28 and led 9-5 on fast break points. But the interesting statistic of the game (other than Utah's blistering outside shooting) was a testament to the depth of the Utes. Washington came in with a tight rotation, and their lack of depth may have come back to haunt them, as Utah's bench outscored the Huskies' bench 32-5.
Andrew Andrews led the Huskies with 22 points on 7-of-14 shooting, 5-of-6 from three-point land, and a perfect 3-for-3 from the free throw line. However, leading scorer Nigel Williams-Goss was held to just eight points, six below his season average. Washington as a team was held 13 points below their season average.
Washington drop to 14-5 overall, 3-4 in the Pac-12. The Top 15 Utes improve to 16-3, 6-1 in the conference, keeping pace with Arizona for the top spot in the Pac-12.
Next up for the Runnin' Utes is the L.A. swing, starting with reeling UCLA on Jan. 29 at 8 p.m. MT.
UCLA is coming off two losses on the Oregon road swing and will be looking to rebound at home. Last time out, Utah only allowed the Bruins to score 39 points, while scoring 71 themselves.