No. 16 Utah holds off San Diego State 81-76
SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Jordan Loveridge scored 21 points and hit four 3-pointers to lead No. 16 Utah to an 81-76 victory over San Diego State on Monday night.
The victory ended Utah's six-game losing streak to the Aztecs.
The Utes (2-0) were undersized against a long, athletic San Diego State team and managed just 20 points in the paint -- but Loveridge and his teammates picked up the slack from outside.
Jakob Poeltl had 15 points, 12 rebounds and one block for the Utes. Kyle Kuzma added 14 points and seven rebounds. Utah was short-handed, with Kuzma in foul trouble most of the second half.
Winston Shepard led San Diego State with 19 points, and Dakarai Allen chipped in 15. Zylan Cheatham, Trey Kell and Shepard each had a team-high seven rebounds.
Utah pulled away with a 14-7 run late in the second half thanks to baskets from Loveridge, Lorenzo Bonam and Brekott Chapman.
The Utes used a 17-5 run to close the first half and take a 38-32 lead into halftime after trailing much of the first 20 minutes. San Diego State took a 27-21 lead with a 17-9 stretch before Utah went on its run.
Utah settled for perimeter shots in the first half against the Aztecs, with 15 of its 31 attempts coming from behind the arc. Only five of those went in, but seven offensive rebounds gave the Utes extra opportunities.
San Diego State: The Aztecs were 6-6 against ranked teams since the beginning of the 2013-14 season. ... San Diego State was No. 2 in the nation in scoring defense (53.9 points) last season. The Aztecs have allowed an average of 70.5 points in two games this season. ... Malik Pope was held to three first-half points and finished with four. ... SDSU had just six assists on 26 baskets. ... Freshman Jeremy Hemsley scored seven points on 3-for-9 shooting.
Utah: The bench was held to seven points -- all from Chapman. ... Isaiah Wright was held scoreless for a second consecutive game and is 0 for 9 from the field.
The Utes got just one point from a true guard in the season opener. Guard/forward Dakarai Tucker added five. The other 76 points came from forwards and centers. The gulf wasn't as drastic Monday, as Brandon Taylor and Bonam combined for 24 points.
Taylor is the leading returning scorer for the Utes, but was ice cold in the first game. He went 0 for 9 in the opener and was 0 for 3 Monday until hitting an off-balance 3 as time expired in the first half. Taylor finished 3 for 9 with 10 points.
Utah plays Texas Tech in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off Classic on Thursday.
San Diego State hosts San Diego Christian on Wednesday.