SALT LAKE CITY (AP) Luke Nevill scored 18 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots as Utah beat Missouri State 66-54 in a defensive battle on Saturday.
Dale Lamberth scored 18 points and Devan Mitchell added 14 for the Bears, who rallied in the second half but could not overcome a 17-point deficit.
The Utes (6-3) led 37-20 at halftime by dominating inside and forcing 10 turnovers, but did not score for nearly five minutes to start the second half, allowing the Bears (5-3) to find a rhythm.
Missouri State soon cut the lead to 41-35 on a lay-up by Chris Cooks, and trailed 44-37 following a three-pointer by Utah's Tyler Kepkay and a putback by Mitchell. But the Bears failed to score on their next eight possessions a span of 7:17 until Shane Laurie hit a three-pointer with 4:14 remaining.
By then, the Utes led 52-40, and were able to escape.
The Utes made 12 straight free throws in the final 2:16 they made 17 of 18 overall including eight in a row by Kepkay, who finished with 16 points. The Utes also shot 48.9 percent, the best by any team against the Bears this season.