GAME NOTES: The Runnin' Utes of Utah put their perfect home record on the line tonight, as they entertain the Texas State Bobcats in non-conference play at the Huntsman Center.
The Utes, who have only one blemish on their record this season due to a 69-67 setback at Boise State earlier this month, have rattled off nine wins in as many opportunities in Salt Lake City. Last Saturday, the team battled in-state rival BYU and made quick work of the Cougars in an 81-64 final. The win was the third in as many games for Utah.
While the Utes have been motoring along with almost no disruption, the same cannot be said for Texas State which has just three wins in 10 chances. Over the weekend, the Bobcats were blown out of the water by Texas in Austin by a score of 85-53. The loss was the second in the last three games for a team that has tallied one of its three wins on the campaign against Cedarville, which lies outside of the Division I ranks.
The Utes own a 2-0 advantage in the all-time series with Texas State, posting a 74-69 win in the most recent matchup just last year on the road.
The last time the Bobcats managed to knock off Texas was way back in 1937 and that remained the case after Saturday's woeful effort at the Frank Erwin Center in Austin. For a team that shot just 29.7 percent from the field and 5- of-26 behind the 3-point line, the only bright spot for the Bobcats was the performance of Joel Wright who registered a double-double consisting of 19 points and a game-high 13 rebounds, although he was also guilty of six of his team's 17 turnovers along the way.
The effort by Wright on the glass was somewhat unexpected, seeing as how he averages just 6.3 rpg, but his scoring was not too uncommon since he is the leading point producer for the Bobcats with 14.8 ppg. Unfortunately for Texas State, coming up with sufficient point totals has been a problem through the first month of the campaign as they average just 64.3 ppg. Part of the issue lies at the free-throw line where the Bobcats are only 61.1 percent accurate at this stage.
Jordan Loveridge scored 21 points, adding six rebounds and five assists, as the Runnin' Utes crushed the BYU Cougars by 17 points in the latest installment in the Desert Duel held last weekend in Salt Lake City. Also scoring in double figures for Utah were Delon Wright and Dallin Bachynski with 16 and 11 points, respectively, the latter also pulling down eight rebounds in just 19 minutes. Wright helped out with six rebounds and a game-high seven assists as well. Defensively, the Utes held the visitors to only 32.8 percent from the floor and watched BYU knock down just 17-of-31 at the free-throw line.
With his team-best 9.5 rpg, Loveridge is on the verge of averaging a double- double thanks to his 17.6 ppg which is also tops on the Utes. Wright, responsible for 16.0 ppg, is someone capable of doing whatever the team needs of him in order for them to succeed. He is not only a fantastic shooter (.687), he is tops on the unit with 63 assists and 29 steals, not to mention second on the glass with 6.6 rpg. Because of the efforts put forth by Loveridge and Wright, Utah is outscoring opponents by almost 24 ppg heading into tonight's matchup.
Defensively, the Runnin' Utes are one of the toughest teams Texas State will face this season. Utah is limiting the competition to a mere 61.7 ppg on 38.4 percent shooting from the floor overall and 25.0 percent out on the perimeter, none of which is a good sign for the Bobcats.
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