SALT LAKE CITY — Utah guard Brandon Taylor made it clear following Thursday’s 78-69 win over Washington. The Utes aren’t looking back after matching last season’s victory total. At 15-7 overall and 4-6 in Pac-12 play, they’re all about the road ahead.
“The past is the past. We can’t do anything about it,” Taylor said. “So the only thing we can control is what we’re going to do the next game and that’s what we did (against Washington).”
In avenging an earlier loss to the Huskies in Seattle, the Utes weathered nine lead changes and eight ties to prevail in the Huntsman Center. They used a 13-0 run and made 10 straight stops on defense during a decisive stretch in the second half.
“The mentality was just never give up,” said Taylor, who topped Utah with 20 points.
The Utes led 31-30 at halftime, turning the ball over 10 times in a sluggish start to the game.
"We were battling in the first half and defensively we were solid,” said forward Jordan Loveridge, who finished with 16 points and 13 rebounds. “We knew if we kept getting some stops and our offense picked up, we'd be fine. We did what we needed to do and got the win."
Utah outrebounded Washington 34-28 and limited the Huskies to 43.8 percent shooting. The Utes had more points in the paint (40-26) and in fast break opportunities (10-6).
Individually, Delon Wright chipped in 19 points, five assists, four rebounds and three steals. Dallin Bachynski and Princeton Onwas teamed for 15 points off the bench, outscoring Washington’s reserves by seven.
It all contributed to Utah’s 15th victory at home this season. It followed consecutive road setbacks to Arizona State, Arizona and Colorado.
“The win relieves a little stress and helps us feel better about ourselves,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said.
And with good reason.
The Utes are now just one victory away from clinching their first non-losing season since going 24-10 in 2008-09. They can assure themselves of such success with a home-court triumph over Washington State (9-13, 2-8) Saturday at 6 p.m. The Cougars, though, may not go down easily. They defeated Utah 49-46 in Pullman on Jan. 12.
EXTRA STUFF: The Utes have won 19 of their past 21 games in the Huntsman Center. ... Utah leads the all-time series with Washington State by a 14-4 margin. The Cougars, however, have won the last two meetings. ... It’s the “Power of Pink” game for cancer awareness. ... The Utes’ 1,700 wins in program history ranks 15th nationally.
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