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Utah Basketball: Runnin' Utes Beat the Arizona Wildcats, finally, 70-64

Russ Isabella-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a long time coming, and I mean a LONG time, but Utah finally got the No. 9 ranked Arizona Wildcats off of their backs Saturday afternoon with a big 70-64 win. In fact, it's been since the Elite 8 in 1998 since the Utes last beat Arizona. Utah was led by senior guard Brandon Taylor's 19 points on 7-of-9 shooting, 4-of-5 from three, including the game clincher with a minute remaining, 5 steals and 3 rebounds in 38 minutes. Jakob Poeltl was the primary focus of Arizona's defense, but he still came away with 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting, 3 blocks and 10 rebounds. Lorenzo Bonam had 11 points, 9 of them came very early on as he was attacking the basket constantly, but foul trouble really hampered him. Jordan Loveridge had 10 of his own, he was also hampered by foul trouble, and actually fouled out with just a couple minutes remaining in the game. Loveridge struggled from beyond-the-arc this afternoon, as he was only 1-of-7, but hit his one three in a huge turn of momentum to help Utah wrangle back the lead. Utah shot well on the game, just shy of 50%, but was pretty bad from three, only hitting 7-of-24, but they hit them when they counted.

Arizona was led by Allonzo Trier's 23 points, and Ryan Anderson's 11. Utah kept Arizona in check pretty well much of the game, and kept them to 42% shooting.

Utah dominated the first half, as they jumped to an 11 point half time lead on a flurry of baskets in the paint. Whether it was Bonam, Taylor, Poeltl or Chapman, Utah was attacking the painted area better than most of the season. Arizona appeared a step slow, and for a second there it looked like Utah might put Arizona away early, but that doesn't really happen against Top-10 teams.

In the second half, Arizona erased their early 12 point deficit and took a lead on the back of a 15-2 run, and much improved defensive intensity. Utah also helped them out quite a bit coming out a bit relaxed and having 4 turnovers in the opening minutes of the half. Utah had a hard time finding Poeltl, as Arizona's big men were doing a good job denying him the ball. You could tell the importance of this game by Poeltl's 39 minutes played, while staying out of foul trouble (which is very impressive), and Taylor's 38 minutes.

The teams pretty much traded blows the remainder of the game, but Brandon Taylor, who has never beaten Arizona (have we said that yet?) decided they weren't going to lose this afternoon.

And of course, the play of the game, and Gabe York's ankles shed a tear...

Utah finished the game on a 7-0 run and held Arizona without a point in the last 2:51.

With the win, Utah moves to 23-7 and 12-5 in the Pac-12. Utah now sits alone in 2nd place in the conference, and have clinched a first round BYE in the Pac-12 tournament. The Utes sit a half game behind Oregon for 1st. Utah finishes the season next Saturday against Colorado on Senior Night. Fans will also need to cheer for either Washington, UCLA or USC to beat Oregon within the next week for a chance at the regular season title.

Post game interviews:

Coach K Post Arizona

Jakob Poeltl and Brandon Taylor Post Arizona Coach K Post Arizona