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Runnin' Utes complete Thanksgiving sweep

Runnin' Utes complete Thanksgiving sweep

Estimated read time: 4-5 minutes

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SALT LAKE CITY — Jordan Loveridge's 22 points and nine rebounds were too much for Wright State, as the Runnin' Utes capped their Thanksgiving tournament sweep with a 66-54 victory over the Raiders.

The true freshman hit 7-of-13 from the field and 6-of-7 from the free throw line, knocking down big shots down the stretch during a 17-4 second half run that led to the Utes' 12-point win.

"We got Jordan the ball and he made his first shot," Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "And I think some of the growing pains that he's going through, he's still thinking (too much). He's still a little bit uncertain about plays. But, making his first shot was a big key and he did a good job for us on the glass for us as well. He's making good progress."

"Loveridge is terrific," said Wright State head coach Billy Donlon. "We couldn't score down low against him very often tonight. We got a little impatient on offense and Utah was able to get into a rhythm."

Sophomore center Dallin Bachynski and senior guard Jarred DuBois also scored in double figures, with Bachynski tallying 16 points and six rebounds, while DuBois recorded 12 points, seven assists, and six boards.

Bachynski, DuBois, and now Loveridge have represented the Utes' leading scorer in each of the last three match-ups against Idaho State, Central Michigan, and Wright State, respectively.

"If you look at the last three or four games, we've had somebody (step up), between Dallin and Jarred and now Jordan," said Krystkowiak. "What I'm hoping that this leads to is a pretty balanced attack. The perfect scenario in my mind when you're coaching is, maybe at the college level, to have five guys who are really close to double figures, if not in double figures. It creates a team atmosphere too, where everybody's fine with it and whoever's got it going on that particular night we're going to roll with it."

Utah got off to a lousy start, falling into a quick 8-0 hole in the contest's opening minutes.

"When I called the (first) time out, our guys came out and you would have thought we were playing the Miami Heat," Krystkowiak said. "It was complete confusion on offense. We gave up a couple shots, but when we went down on offense, I looked at our guys, and they all looked at me like I was going to come running out there. We were in quick sand."

But the Utes responded with a 21-12 run to take the lead, capped by a 4-point play by senior guard Cedric Martin.

Martin and junior guard Glen Dean each pitched in with seven points apiece, with Dean dishing out seven dimes as well.

Just a single Raider registered double figures, being sophomore guard Reggie Arceneaux who scored 12 points on 5-of-14 shooting.

"This was the best team we have played up until this point," Krystkowiak said. "They are a really solid team defensively. They did a good job offensively, a lot of pick-and-rolls. They may have set a record with the number of pick-and-rolls they used over the course of the game. They're in the same league as Butler, that's kind of the 'MO.'"

Utah finishes off the Huntsman Center Thanksgiving tournament with a 3-0 sweep, leading to a 4-1 record this season — the Utes' best 5-game record since the 2008-09 season, when they got off to a 5-1 start. Last season, the Utes had lost 10 games before finally getting a fourth win, which didn't come until a Jan. 5, 2012 overtime victory over Washington State.

"One of the things I have noticed is that we improved every game (throughout the tournament)," Bachynski said. "The competition also increased with every game, but we matched it, and even went further than the other teams.

"We grew as a team, not just offensively and defensively, but we were able to execute plays a whole lot better. We were able to find each other better. Of course there were some breakdowns, but I feel that as a team we're a lot more comfortable and I feel like each game became more comfortable for us."

The Utes will take their 3-game winning streak on the road next week, when they make their first and only out-of-state non-conference road trip. They will head to Texas to face Southern Methodist and Texas State next Wednesday and Friday.

Tyson Maddy has covered the University of Utah football and men's basketball teams as a contributing writer for Sports since 2011.

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