San Marcos, Texas • Jordan Loveridge gingerly wrapped a thick bag of ice around both knees. His body worn down from 30 minutes of physical basketball against Texas State, the Utah freshman walked slowly down the back steps of Strahan Coliseum.
On Friday night, the 74-69 win over the Bobcats in front of 2,237 onlookers could serve as a coming-of-age moment for the 6-foot-7 power forward. When his team needed it most, he shook off a quiet first half and became the Utes’ best player down the stretch.
When it was over, Loveridge finished with 17 points, eight rebounds and five assists. More importantly, seven of those rebounds came in the final 10 minutes, when Utah needed them most.
“I’m becoming a little more comfortable in the offense, figuring out what I can and can’t do,” Loveridge said. “It’s a process, but I wanted to become more aggressive when the time came. The coaches wanted us to go to the basket more, and I felt like the drive was there because they were getting into us defensively.”
Friday became the first road win for the Utes since 2010, when they were still playing basketball for Jim Boylen. In what was a landmark victory for the Larry Krystkowiak era, there were plenty of notable performances besides Loveridge.
Senior guard Jarred DuBois dropped a game-high 21 points, added three rebounds and three assists. And when Utah needed big baskets, he provided them. Senior center Jason Washburn played what was by far his best game of the season. He scored 18 points, grabbed six rebounds and blocked three shots.
“This was a toughness win for us,” Krystkowiak said. “There was a large stretch where Texas State was getting to every rebound. They were getting three and four shots at the basket every time down the floor. We just kind of challenged our guys, and we wanted to see who would stick their nose in there and make a few plays. I thought we responded well tonight. I was happy with the effort.”
Down 55-54 with seven minutes remaining, the Utes went on a 14-2 run to take control, the final points of that spurt coming from a 3-pointer by junior guard Glen Dean. Loveridge facilitated the strong finish, taking the ball to the basket whenever possible. He either finished at the basket, found a teammate for an easy shot, or got himself to the free-throw line. He scored 11 of his points and grabbed seven of his rebounds after halftime.
“Coach said if we take the ball into the paint, then we have a good chance at scoring points,” Loveridge said. “We wanted to do just that.”
The Bobcats cut into the advantage down the stretch, but Utah never surrendered control. For the Utes, this served as a big victory. With a loss to SMU on Wednesday, the last thing Krystkowiak wanted was to bring a losing streak back to Salt Lake City, especially with Boise State and BYU looming on the horizon.
“This was a win we really needed to get,” Washburn said. “We wanted to get the bad taste out of our mouths from the SMU game. We have two big games next week. We’re excited.”
Utah 74, Texas St. 69
R Jason Washburn plays his best game of the season, scoring 18 points.
• Utah breaks the game open with a 14-2 run midway through the second half.
• The Utes split their Texas road trip and move to 5-2 on the season.
Utah 74, Texas State 69
UTAH (5-2) • Loveridge 5-10 7-9 17, Bachynski 0-3 0-0 0, Dean 2-7 0-2 5, DuBois 7-11 4-4 21, Martin 1-3 2-4 5, Lenz 4-6 0-0 8, Taylor 0-1 0-0 0, Tucker 0-0 0-0 0, Washburn 7-8 4-4 18, Dotson 0-0 0-0 0. Totals • 26-49 17-23 74.
TEXAS ST. (3-4) • Koenen 3-9 1-2 7, Stern 2-6 2-6 7, Staff 6-12 2-2 16, T. Jones 5-10 1-2 16, Davis 1-6 0-0 3, Hawkins 0-1 0-0 0, Dorsey 0-0 0-0 0, Richardson 0-2 0-0 0, Brown II 0-1 0-0 0, D. Jones 1-2 0-0 3, Wright 6-15 5-6 17, Hinton 0-1 0-0 0. Totals • 24-65 11-18 69.
Halftime • Utah 33-30. 3-Point Goals • Utah 5-17 (DuBois 3-4, Martin 1-2, Dean 1-5, Bachynski 0-1, Taylor 0-1, Lenz 0-1, Loveridge 0-3), Texas St. 10-31 (T. Jones 5-8, Staff 2-5, D. Jones 1-2, Stern 1-3, Davis 1-4, Brown II 0-1, Wright 0-1, Richardson 0-2, Koenen 0-5). Fouled Out • Wright. Rebounds • Utah 36 (Loveridge 8), Texas St. 37 (Wright 11). Assists • Utah 17 (Loveridge 5), Texas St. 12 (T. Jones 3). Total Fouls • Utah 17, Texas St. 18.
A • 2,237.