Utah basketball: Jordan Loveridge leads Utah past Wright State

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Freshman Jordan Loveridge scored 15 of his 22 points in the second half, leading the University of Utah to a 66-54 victory over Wright State on Saturday night at the Huntsman Center.

Loveridge scored 10 straight points in a four-minute stretch, triggering a 15-2 run that broke the game open in the final eight minutes.

The Utes improved to 4-1 this season. Last year, they did not get their fourth win until Jan. 5.

With the victory over Wright State, Utah went 3-0 in its round-robin Thanksgiving tournament that also included wins over Idaho State (57-46) and Central Michigan (67-51).

This game did not start well for coach Larry Krystkowiak's team.

Wright State turned its first three possessions into eight points. On the other end, the Utes committed two quick offensive fouls and needed almost four minutes to score.

It was 8-0 when sophomore center Dallin Bachynski stepped outside and hit a three-pointer, but the Raiders still owned a 16-9 lead with 10 minutes left.

At that point, Utah's zone defense forced Wright State into a series of difficult shots.

The Raiders went scoreless for four minutes and the Utes took their first lead, 17-16, when Loveridge made two free throws with 5:55 remaining.

It was 21-20 after Utah's Cedric Martin completed a four-point play and Utah maintained the lead by making 4 of 5 free throws in the final 3:25.

At halftime, the Utes were 9 for 11 from the foul line. The Raiders did not shoot a free throw.

Utah maintained its lead — but could not pull away — until late in the second half.

The Utes owned a tenuous 46-42 lead when Loveridge buried a 3-pointer.

On the next possession, he grabbed and offensive rebound and was fouled. His two free throws bumped the lead to 51-42 with 8:09 remaining.

Moments later, Loveridge hit another 3-pointer and Utah's lead eventually ballooned to 63-46 against gritty Wright State, which slipped to 4-2 on the season.