ARIZONA STATE BASKETBALL

ASU unable to complete comeback against Utah

Jan 7, 2017, 6:14 PM | Updated: 6:15 pm

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) — Kyle Kuzma scored 19 of his career-high 26 points in the second half and grabbed 12 rebounds, helping Utah hold off Arizona State 88-82 on Saturday.

Utah (11-4, 2-1 Pac-12) built a nine-point lead behind a second-half run keyed by Kuzma, only to allow Arizona State to claw its way back in the closing minutes.

Obinna Oleka pulled the Sun Devils within 82-80 on a two-handed slam, but Lorenzo Bonham and JoJo Zamora combined to make 3 of 4 free throws in the final 25 seconds.

The Utes shot 55 percent and made 8 of 16 from 3-point range after struggling to get shots to fall in a loss to Arizona on Thursday. Zamora and David Collette had 18 points each.

Shannon Evans scored 21 points and Kodi Justice 17 to lead the Sun Devils (9-8, 2-2).

Utah was able to hang with No. 17 Arizona most of Thursday night before wearing down against the long Wildcats.

The Utes had to shift gears in a short turnaround, facing an Arizona State team that’s guard-heavy and twice matched the school record for 3-pointers this season with 18.

Utah had a hard time slowing the Sun Devils on the perimeter at the start, particularly during a 23-5 run that put Arizona State up 25-16. And, just like their game against Arizona, the Utes had a long scoreless drought, going nearly 6 1/2 minutes without making a shot.

Utah finally started getting something to go in and cut what was once a 10-point deficit to 37-34 by halftime.

Kuzma, who had a quiet game in Tucson, sparked the Utes in the second half, keying a 9-0 run that put them up 56-48 midway through.

Arizona State made a late run to pull within two twice, but couldn’t get a shot to fall in the closing seconds.

BIG PICTURE

Utah bounced back nicely from their loss to Arizona with a strong offensive game and held its composure when the Sun Devils made a late run.

The Sun Devils’ lack of size has hurt it against bigger teams and did again against the Utes, who had a 40-30 advantage in rebounds.

UP NEXT

Utah heads home to face No. 25 Southern California and No. 4 UCLA next week.

Arizona State plays at No. 17 Arizona on Thursday in the first two games against its biggest rival.

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