Loveridge, Runnin’ Utes hold off hard-charging Bruins

Photo courtesy Utah Athletics

LOS ANGELES (AP) Jordan Loveridge scored 17 points and Utah held off UCLA’s furious charge over the last six minutes to win 75-73 on Wednesday night at Pauley Pavilion.

basketball-ballrunningutes2Jakob Poeltl added 15 points and 11 rebounds and Kyle Kuzma added 13 points and nine rebounds as the Utes (20-7, 9-5), who let a 14-point second-half lead dwindle to two, took sole possession of third place in the Pac-12 with four games left.

Isaac Hamilton scored 25 points to lead UCLA (14-12, 5-8), which remained tied for ninth and has five games remaining. The Bruins have lost three of their last four home games.

Utah’s frontline of 7-foot-0 Poetl, 6-9 Kuzma and 6-6 Loveridge outscored UCLA 40-24 in the paint and had a 35-31 rebounding advantage. For Poeltl, it was his 11th double-double of the season.

After UCLA rallied from a 14-point deficit to pull within 70-68, Brandon Taylor hit a 3-pointer with 15 seconds left. After Thomas Welsh made a layup, the Utes found Kuzma alone ahead of the field on the ensuing inbounds play for a clinching dunk with three seconds remaining. Aaron Holiday hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for the final margin.

TIP-INS

Utah: The Utes came into the game having scored 80-plus points in five of their 13 Pac-12 games, the first time they’ve had more than four (2013-14) since joining the conference. They lead the conference in scoring defense, allowing Pac-12 opponents just 68.1 points per game.

UCLA: The Bruins entered the game as the only Pac-12 team with two players in the conference’s top 10 scorers (points per game) in Bryce Alford (16.4) and Isaac Hamilton (16.4), tied for fifth.

UP NEXT

Utah: At USC on Sunday.

UCLA: Host to Colorado on Saturday.

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

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