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SALT LAKE CITY — Parker Van Dyke needed no help picking up where he left off last week.
Five days after hitting five 3-pointers against the UCLA Bruins, including a buzzer-beating game winner in Pauley Pavilion, Van Dyke followed it up Thursday with seven made 3-pointers against the visiting Arizona Wildcats en route to an 83-76 victory. The win propelled Utah (14-10, 8-4) into sole possession of second place in the Pac-12 standings.
Van Dyke finished the night with a career high 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting, including 7-of-10 from three, to lead the Utes in scoring.
“A little magic came home with me from Westwood,” Van Dyke said. “It was a really fun game and it was great to get a win against Arizona — that’s my first one as a Ute.”
The senior guard came off the bench Thursday and managed five 3-pointers in a nine-minute stretch, scoring on every shot attempt he made in the first half. He followed it up with a pair of 3-pointers in the second half to finish the night with seven and narrowly missing out on tying the all-time record of eight for the most 3-pointers made in a single game at Utah.
In Van Dyke’s last attempt, the ball rolled around the rim before barely falling out of the cylinder as fans in the Huntsman Center waited with bated breath in hopes of erupting in cheers.
Utah’s Jayce Johnson also had a career night. The junior center scored 17 points — all of which came in the second half as he went to work in the paint — and finished with 10 rebounds in the win. Johnson’s double-double performance Thursday is his third in the last five games — he was one rebound short in two games during that stretch to keep him from a five-game consecutive streak with a double-double.
“I think he is a great rim protector and obviously a really solid rebounder,” Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak said of Johnson’s recent play. “He’s undoubtedly our best rebounds and did a nice job on (Chase) Jeter.”
Johnson was forced to sit much of the first half after picking up his second foul midway through the half. He, along with freshman Timmy Allen, got into foul trouble early for the Utes in the first half, and Utah was forced to dig deep into their bench. Sedrick Barefield added 15 points and six assists and Allen had 14 points and six rebounds for the Utes
Arizona (14-11, 5-7) closed out the first half on a quick 6-1 run with Johnson and Allen on the bench to eventually take a 32-31 lead into the break.
Utah used an 18-2 run over a five-minute period midway through the second half, though, to put distance on the Wildcats, and to build their lead up to 16 points — the largest of the game. In that run, Utah relied heavily on a stout interior defense that kept the Wildcats from scoring easy in the post, and then used an up-tempo offense to build the lead.
“They’re hitting on all cylinders,” Arizona head coach Sean Miller told media. “Often times, you judge the November and December by who you beat and what you did. Utah is one of those teams in college basketball that they’re better now than whey were then.”
The Wildcats would eventually cut Utah’s lead down to 11 before Arizona’s Chase Jeter fouled out of the game with four minutes remaining. The junior center finished the night with only eight points and six rebounds but was a major disrupter to the Utes on both ends of the floor. With him gone, Utah had little trouble scoring around the rim to hold off the Wildcats.
Arizona had four players in double figures Thursday and were led by Dylan Smith’s 16 points on 6-of-14 shooting in 34 minutes of play. Forward Ryan Luther added 14 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 4-of-6 from deep, for the Wildcats.
The Utes return to action at the Huntsman Center Saturday, Feb. 16 at 8 p.m. MST against Arizona State. The game will be broadcast on FS1 and on ESPN 700.