No. 13 Utah routs Arizona St 83-41 with dominant first half

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By Brad Denny By Brad Denny

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah Utes sent a message to the Pac-12-leading Arizona Wildcats with their play on Thursday night.

The statement was simple: Get ready.

No. 13-ranked Utah trounced visiting Arizona State 83-41, burying the visitors before halftime with their best half of the season. The Utes welcome the Wildcats to Salt Lake City on Saturday with the opportunity to move into a tie for first place in the conference.

"There's been a lot of talk this week about a potential letdown," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "I made a comment to some people earlier in the week after our practice on Tuesday that I wouldn't want to be the team that had to play us.

"You can talk about fixing things when they're broke, but to lose a game like we did at Oregon really got some guys' attention."

Delon Wright scored 12 points and did a little bit of everything as Utah cruised to victory.

The Utes put the game away in the first half with a stunning 41-9 advantage.

Wright was Mr. Versatility for Utah (21-5, 11-3), filling out the stat line with five rebounds, four assists, three blocks and three steals in just 21 minutes. Center Jacob Poeltl finished with eight points, six rebounds and six blocks.

The Sun Devils (15-12, 7-7 Pac-12) shot just 15.4 percent in the first half, with an 0-for-9 start. The team had four field goals and 10 turnovers at halftime and had 10 shots blocked.

"That was crazy. I feel like every shot that was going up was getting blocked," Wright said. "People can get (nine points) in two minutes or something. It took them a whole half to get nine. That was good for our defense."

Gerry Blakes scored 12 points for Arizona State, as did Willie Atwood. The 41 points were a season low.

Everything started for the Utes on defense as they put together their most dominant half of basketball of the year. The Sun Devils connected on just 4 for 26 shots from the floor and struggled to even get shots off. Arizona State missed its first nine shots before finally scoring nearly five minutes into the game. The Utes matched their season-high in blocks for an entire game in that first half and finished with 11.

The energy from the defensive effort spilled over to the other end of the floor. The Utes shot 62.5 percent in the first half and went into the break on a 36-2 run. Sticking with its season-long philosophy, Utah spread the ball around on offense and five players scored between six and eight points in the half. Eight scored at least eight in the game and 11 players got on the scoreboard.

"There's not a whole lot to say," Arizona State coach Herb Sendek said. "Utah was just tremendous in every facet of the game. There's not a whole lot of value in trying to dissect it any more than that at this point.

"Obviously a poor performance by our team and an outstanding performance by the other team."

The Utes host No. 7 Arizona on Saturday. A Utah win would tie the two teams atop the Pac-12.

TIP-INS

Arizona State: The Sun Devils had won three straight and four of five before the rout. ... The 28.0 shooting percentage was the second worst under Sendek. ... The 41 points tied the second fewest scored under Sendek. ... The loss was the worst for Arizona State since being beaten by 46 against USC in 1998.

Utah: The Utes are one of two teams in the nation that haven't given up more than 72 points this season. ... Utah has now beaten 13 teams by 20 points or more this season.

QUOTABLE

"We would've needed about 50 timeouts tonight. We could've called a timeout after every possession. That might have been the only way," Sendek said.

UP NEXT

Arizona State: at Colorado on Sunday.

Utah: hosts No. 7 Arizona on Saturday.