At the end of the UCLA game for the Utes, it came down to an LA kid to stop the bleeding and put the dagger in his hometown college team. UCLA had stormed back from down 14 points to cut the deficit to just two, when Brandon Taylor brought the ball up the floor and calmly hit a three, when his men went under a screen, with 15 seconds remaining giving Utah a 5 point lead, and the breathing room they needed to put the game away. Thursday's win marks Utah first win over UCLA in Los Angeles in 55 years -- so they were due.
The Utes were led by Jordan Loveridge's 17 points, while Jakob Poeltl had 15 points and 11 rebounds. Kyle Kuzma had 13 points of his own, and Taylor had 12. Lorenzo Bonam and Dakari Tucker each had 8. UCLA was led by Isaac Hamilton's 25 points to led 4 Bruins in double figures.
The first half was a bit of a grind for both teams at times as they went back-and-forth to go into halftime tied. Utah came out in the second half crisp, and they went on a run about midway through the half to give themselves a 14 point lead, where it looked like they were going to run UCLA out of the building. Possession after possession the Bruins would turn it over, and the Utes would toss it up court for a breakaway layup. However, this Bruin team has come back from a 20 point deficit earlier this year against Washington to win, so they know how to come back, and that's what they did to cut the lead to 2 with less than a minute remaining.
Utah's offense went stone cold the last 7 minutes of the game, allowing UCLA to make their run. Utah was steady with the ball, overall, only having 8 turnovers, but they got stagnate to end the game, just chucking up three after three. Seemingly, the Utes forgot about their lottery pick in the middle, which happens too often, and thought the jumpers would close out the game. UCLA countered the missed threes with 8 straight field goals to make the game much closer than it needed to be. Utah's offense was very potent overall in the second half, shooting 57.6%, it was just the last 7 minutes where things bogged down that made it an ugly win.
The Utes are now a game back of Arizona for 1st in the conference, and will play USC on Sunday, which will be a big game since the Trojans are just behind the Utes in the standings.