Utes men's basketball wins second straight, beats University of Portland

Published: Monday, Dec. 19 2011 9:22 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY -- After losing eight straight games, the Utah basketball team won its second straight game with a 72-67 victory over the University of Portland Monday night at the Huntsman Center

The Utes improved to 3-8 with the victory, while Portland fell to 3-9 on the season.

Josh Watkins scored a career-high 26 points to lead the Utes while Jason Washburn added 18 points and seven rebounds. Cedric Martin scored 11 points and Dijon Farr chipped in nine.

Portland was led by Nemanja Mitrovic with 14 points and Ryan Nicholas, who scored 13 points, before fouling out on an offensive foul with 1:25 left.

The Utes took a 39-27 halftime lead on 61.5 percent shooting from the field. The Utes jumped out to leads of 9-1, 15-3 and 30-14 before settling for the 12-point halftime edge.

However, the Pilots stormed back in the second half as the Utes went cold from the field. Portland tied the score at 55 with 7:54 left on a basket by Tim Douglas and had two chances to take the lead Thomas Van Der Mars missed four straight free throws.

Watkins put the Utes back on top with a drive to the basket and hit a big shot from the top of the key to put the Utes up 63-59 with 1:40 left.

The Utes will play at Weber State Thursday night before beginning Pac-12 play at Colorado next week.

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