When you think of elite basketball teams in the Pac-12, odds are you think of No. 8 Arizona or even UCLA or USC.
Well, you should probably start thinking of No. 10 Utah (11-2), which blew out the aforementioned Trojans, 79-55, on Friday. It was the Utes’ third consecutive victory by 24 or more points.
Senior guard Delon Wright led the way for Utah, finishing with 11 points, 10 rebounds, one steal, one rebound and one block.
“I just tried to play a complete game and get the win,” Wright said on Ferrall on the Bench.
Wright did just that – and so did teammates Brandon Taylor (11 points, five rebounds, two steals) and Jordan Loveridge (14 points, six rebounds, two assists).
“We just needed to play solid today,” Wright said. “Nobody had to come out and score a lot of points for us. We just had to play solid all around.”
The Utes struggled from the foul line – shooting just 10-of-20 – but they were unconscious from everywhere else; they shot 56.9 percent from the floor and a whopping 57.9 percent (11-of-19) from three-point range. Six Utes hit at least one three-pointer, including Loveridge and Taylor, who each had three apiece.
“We take good shots,” Wright said. “If we take a shot, we’re going to have a high chance of scoring. Our three-point shooters were knocking down their threes and that really helped us extend the lead.”
Utah has gotten off to a great start this season, even beating then-No. 8 Wichita State, 69-68, in overtime on Dec. 3. The Utes’ only losses this year were by four points at then-No. 16 San Diego State in the second game of the season and a three-point loss against then-No. 10 Kansas in Kansas City on Dec. 13.
“Those were momentum games for us,” Wright said. “Even the Kansas game, we lost, but we knew that environment would help us in league play. And that Wichita State game was also big for us, just beating a ranked team to give us a boost on our resume. I think (we’ve) started off pretty well. We just want to continue that in league play and make a run in the tournament.”
Interestingly enough, Wright’s brother, Dorell, plays for the Portland Trail Blazers. A first-round pick in 2004, Dorell has played for Miami, Golden State, Philadelphia and is in his second year in Portland.
“We competed with each other (growing up) so it’s always fun,” said Wright, who is six years Dorell’s junior. “He was the older brother all the time.”
Utah hosts UCLA (8-6) on Sunday at 4 p.m. ET.
“I watched a little bit on them, and I think they’re a good group,” Wright said. “They play really well under his system, so we’ll be locked in on them.”
Wright, who is averaging a team-high 15.4 points for Utah, is from Los Angeles but was not recruited by UCLA. Still, he does not take playing the Bruins personally.
“As long as we get the win,” he said, “I’m happy with that.”