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Pullman, Wash. • For a half, Jordan Loveridge found his groove, his shot, and his rhythm. He looked like Jordan Loveridge again.
Utah's sophomore forward scored a game-high 15 points in a 49-46 loss at Washington State on Sunday night in Pullman. He did so on a mixture of jumpers and drives to the basket that combine to make him one of the more difficult guys in the Pac-12 to match up against.
"I was just trying to be aggressive," Loveridge said. "I just wanted to take what the defense gave me."
Loveridge scored 11 of those points in the first half, and nine of them on a 12-0 run that allowed the Utes to take control in the first 20 minutes. As the offense shifted to Delon Wright in the second half, Loveridge continued to be aggressive. He went to the basket, he took 10 free throws and he beat people off the dribble into the lane.
Still, Loveridge scored only four points after halftime, and he didn't grab any rebounds. But for a half, he looked like himself again, and that has to be encouraging for Utah.
Hurt big man
Senior forward Renan Lenz went down with a sprained ankle foot midway through the first half. He spent the rest of the game behind the bench with an ice bag over his foot and he left Beasley Coliseum on crutches. Lenz hurt the ankle on a rebound when it appeared he came down on the foot of an opposing player. He will be evaluated when he returns to campus. There is no timetable on how long he will be out. In his absence, junior center Marko Kovacevic received minutes off the bench.
Combined, the two teams took 55 foul shots, with many of those coming in the second half. At one point, officials called fouls on 12 consecutive possessions, slowing the game to a crawl. Washington State's Que Johnson took 13 free throws by himself. Loveridge and Wright took 21 foul shots between them. Wright missed four consecutive free throws down the stretch.
Utah was to charter home Sunday night. The Utes flew commercially back and forth this week against Washington.
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