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Pullman, Wash. • To an attentive group of fans, the Runnin' Utes' black uniforms have become an ill omen on the road.

Utah has lost in Kansas City, Palo Alto and Tucson in the past two years while wearing black.

But the Utes who took the floor on Thursday night had about as much regard for omens as they did for Washington State's defense: That is to say, next to none.

Leading by double figures for most of the evening at Beasley Coliseum, Utah (14-5, 3-3 Pac-12) piled on the points in a 92-71 win at Washington State, the most it has scored since conference play began.

Utah's second straight league win, and second straight on the road, showed the program's vision: a veritable Swiss Army knife of scoring options. While the Utes showed that at times in non-conference play, it was the first time the team picked to finish third in the Pac-12 looked like a contender against another Pac-12 team.

"Hopefully this is the start of something," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "I talked about before the game that I really want our guys to have a sense of a revival, almost — like let's make this a turning point."

The assault began in the paint, where Utah relentlessly attacked the soft underbelly of Washington State's defense. But two of Utah's seniors, Jordan Loveridge and Brandon Taylor, helped finish the Cougars off.

The duo combined for 43 points while dusting off recent cold streaks. They led an effort in which Utah, which entered the night hitting under 30 percent from long range, was 11 for 22 behind the 3-point line. Four Utes, including Jakob Poeltl (14) and Lorenzo Bonam (13), had double-digit scoring nights.

Off screens, wide open, or driving to the hoop — it didn't seem to matter how the Utes shot, because most of them went in. Utah's 55.6 percentage from the field was its best since scoring 115 against College of Idaho on Dec. 28. Since 2016 began, Utah hadn't shot over 50 percent in a game, and had scored fewer than 60 points in its past four contests.

"I thought our focus in this week's practice was there," Taylor said. "We knew what we had to work on, and I think we made some progress today."

Utah's tenacity wasn't limited to scoring: The team dominated the glass, putting up 11 points on putbacks and out-rebounding the Cougs by 10. While Wazzu shot 48 percent itself, it was hampered by 13 turnovers, which Utah converted to 22 points, a pleasant role reversal for the sometimes turnover-prone Utes.

Utah's aggression took center stage early: The team scored on its first five possessions, all with shots in the paint. Poeltl set the early tone with a one-fisted dunk.

Poeltl and Bonam took advantage of Washington State's soft interior — without leading shot-blocker Valentine Izundu for the fourth straight game — then Loveridge added early 3-pointers to take a 16-6 lead before seven minutes had melted off the clock.

"Once we get it going inside, it opens up the outside," Loveridge said. "It was just a good balance starting off the game."

Wazzu ended up shaking off an early haze and got into the shootout, feeding Hawkinson for 10 points in the first half. But Utah kept up its torrid pace to halftime, hitting 7 of its final 14 shots before the break to carry a 15-point lead into halftime.

The road doesn't get any easier: The Utes spirited away shortly after the game, bound for Seattle with a Sunday date against the first-place Huskies.

"Hopefully we can build some momentum from this game," Loveridge said. "Hopefully we can get out to another good start in Seattle. We gotta just keep the momentum rolling."

Twitter: @kylegoon —


R Jordan Loveridge scores 22 points to lead Utah, Brandon Taylor scores 21.

• Utes hit 55.6 percent of their shots.

• Utah scores 22 points off 13 Washington State turnovers.