Well, it was fun if you are a Utah fan. The No. 13-ranked Runnin' Utes led wire to wire, as they showed no mercy on Thursday night against the Arizona State Sun Devils, 83-41. The win gets the Utes back on track after a disappointing effort against Oregon and sets up the showdown with Arizona on Saturday.
Arizona State didn't stand a chance as Utah attacked early and often, cruising to a 41-9 halftime lead. Yes, you read that correctly, 41-9. The second half wasn't much better for Arizona State as the Utes continued to dominate throughout the second half, giving the reserves plenty of minutes in the second half enroute to a 83-41 win.
The night began in record breaking fashion as Jakob Poeltl's second block of the game set a Utah freshman record for blocks with 47. Poeltl wasn't finished, as he would finish the game with six blocks, his highest block total since a November 18th contest against San Diego State when he had seven. The big man wasn't the only player swatting shots out on the floor, as Delon Wright finished with three for himself, including a highlight reel block off the backboard on a Bo Barnes layup. Chris Reyes and Brekkot Chapman each had one block a piece. The Utes were so dominant blocking shots early, that with a little over seven minutes left in the first half, the Utes had blocked nearly half (7 out of 16) of Arizona State's shot attempts.
The first half was especially brutal for the Sun Devils as they were held to single digits in the scoring column. In fact, the Sun Devils finished the first half with more turnovers (10) than points. The Sun Devils didn't score their first basket until 15:20 left in the first half when Gerry Blakes hit a jumper from the top of the key. Arizona State closed the half much the way they started it, being held scoreless in the final six minutes as the Utes closed out the half on a an 18-0 run.
Everyone got in on the scoring action for Utah, as the Utes had eight players score eight or more points including all five starters. The Utes shot the ball at 63.3% clip finishing 31-49 as a team. Even more impressive is the 8-14 mark from three point land for the Utes, as they finished shooting 57.1% from behind the arc.
Delon Wright was particularly brilliant. Besides his block, Wright made several jaw dropping passes and had his way driving the lane all night against the Arizona State defense. He even got tricky, inbounding a baseline pass off the back of Bo Barnes before recovering it for a layup. Wright finished leading all Utah scorers with twelve points to go with five rebounds, four assists and three steals.
Defensively the Utes were on point, as they normally are at home. The Sun Devils didn't help their cause with a myriad of careless turnovers and poor shot selection. The Utah defense held Arizona State to a paltry 28% Field Goal percentage on just 14 of 50 shooting. The Sun Devils were abysmal from beyond the three point line shooting 18.8% on 3 of 16 shooting. The Sun Devils 41 points was a season low for them.
The win runs the Utes home winning streak to 18 games. The 42 point win almost doubles their average margin of victory against PAc-12 opponents of 21.6. In addition Utah continues on as the nation's leader in having won the most games by twenty or more points.
Next up for Utah is monumental matchup with no. 7 Arizona on Saturday at the Huntsman Center. Last time the two teams faced off, Arizona embarrassed the Utes in the desert 69-51. You can watch the Utes try to avenge their loss against Arizona at 7pm MT Saturday on ESPN .