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Nevill leads Utah over LSU

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SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Luke Nevill had to admit he was a little surprised by the way Utah handled LSU.

The Utes were confident enough that they could beat the Tigers, but Utah's 91-61 win on Tuesday night was more than they could have hoped for against a team that had lost just one other time this season.

"I wasn't surprised we won the game. The score was a little surprising," said Nevill, who led Utah with 23 points.

Nevill finished 11-for-13 from the floor, pulled down six rebounds and blocked three shots as Utah (10-5) won its fourth straight.

LSU (12-2) had won four straight, but made just seven field goals in the second half and was outscored 50-22 in the paint. Even holding Nevill scoreless for the last 15 minutes didn't help much.

Carlon Brown scored 17 and Luka Drca and Shaun Green had 13 points each for the Utes.

"We couldn't stop their other players, either," LSU coach Trent Johnson said.

Utah shot 67 percent in the first half and cooled off only slightly in the second, going 17-for-28 and continuing to pull away from the Tigers. Utah scored 21 points off LSU turnovers and outrebounded the Tigers 37-29.

"When we defend and can get that ball out and run, we're pretty good," Utah coach Jim Boylen said. "I thought we wore them down a little bit."

Marcus Thornton led LSU with 17 points. Tasmin Mitchell scored 14 and Chris Johnson added 13 points and led the Tigers with seven rebounds.

LSU got within 53-44 early in the second half, then Utah scored the next six points, including a putback by Nevill that put Utah up 57-44.

Quintin Thornton made two free throws for LSU to cut the margin to 59-46 with 14:30 left, but the Utes took off again on a 13-3 run and continued to pull away from there as the Tigers matched their season low for scoring. LSU was held to the same total in a 72-61 loss to Texas A&M on Dec. 20 -- LSU's only other loss of the season.

"We gave them too many transition buckets and drives to the basket and I think that's what opened the game up for them," Marcus Thornton said.

The Tigers led by six points early in the game, but finished 20-for-60 from the field and were just 7-for-31 in the second half.

LSU made a push late in the first half to get within 33-30, but Utah closed with a 10-4 run to lead 43-34 at halftime and shut down the Tigers quickly in the second half.

"I think we all were surprised. We didn't know what kind of game to expect," Brown said. "We did everything we needed to do."

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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DOUG ALDEN Sports Writer


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