NCAA BK

Utah pulls away for 69-50 win over Texas State

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP)

Brandon Taylor scored 18 points while Jordan Loveridge chipped in 14 points and 10 rebounds to lead Utah to a 69-50 victory over Texas State on Thursday night.

Delon Wright added 13 points for the Utes (10-1), who held the Bobcats to just 38.3 percent shooting (18-of-47) and forced a total of 15 turnovers. Texas State shot just 18.2 percent (2-of-11) from beyond the arc.

Emani Gant scored 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting for Texas State and helped the Bobcats finish with a 30-20 edge in points in the paint. Still, Texas State (3-8) could not overcome poor shooting and miscues long enough to seriously threaten Utah down the stretch.

A sluggish start after halftime put Utah in dangerous territory. The Utes hit just 3-of-11 shots to open the second half and it opened the door for Texas State to threaten Utah's once-comfortable lead. The Bobcats chipped away at the lead and pulled to within four after Wes Davis stole a pass from Wright and fed Gant for a layup to make it 38-34.

Utah finally came to life on offense after Taylor drained a 3-pointer a few seconds later. Wright converted a 3-point play on the next possession and the baskets helped fuel a decisive 17-4 spurt for the Utes. By the time Dakarai Tucker drained a jumper to cap the run, Utah held a 55-38 lead with 7:46 left.

Utah did a good job putting extra pressure on Texas State right out of the gate. The Utes trapped along the baselines and in the corners to force the Bobcats into committing several early turnovers. Texas State committed 11 turnovers in the first half alone and Utah had a 13-2 edge on points off turnovers by halftime.

Utah forced four turnovers in the game's first seven minutes to take control early. The final one of those four came when Wright stole the ball and took it in for a layup, giving the Utes a 17-6 lead. It capped a 14-2 run that erased an early 4-3 lead for Texas State.

The Bobcats tried to rally without success. Wes Davis scored a pair of layups to help halt Utah's initial run. Texas State cut the deficit to six at 20-14 when Corey Stern buried a pair of free throws with 9:19 left before halftime.

Loveridge answered with a layup and added a 3-pointer a minute later to help Utah boost the lead back to 26-14. The Utes went ice cold from the field after that point, making a single field goal over the final 7:46 of the first half.

Texas State could not take advantage. The Bobcats only made two field goals in the same stretch - both 3-pointers from Phil Hawkins - and trailed 31-22 at halftime.

Tagged: Texas, Utah, Texas State

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