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Utah basketball: With starters struggling, Utes bench steps up against Cal

Published March 5, 2014 10:32 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Berkeley, Calif. • Everyone knows Delon Wright and Jordan Loveridge are the two leading scorers for Utah.

What happens, though, when both are quiet offensively for an entire half? Would the Utes fold? Or would they be able to thrive?

On Wednesday night, we got an answer, if only for 20 minutes. With Loveridge struggling to 2-of-8 shooting during the first half against California, and Wright missing three of his four shots, other Utah players picked up the slack.

Princeton Onwas, Kenneth Ogbe, Marko Kovacevic and Dallin Bachynski scored 20 of the Utes' 26 points, forging a close lead for Utah heading into an important second half.

Much of that production came off the bench. With Utah struggling, Ogbe made two big 3-pointers. Onwas got to the basket off the dribble and scored repeatedly at the rim. Kovacevic and Bachynski made plays in the paint.

That offset Wright and Loveridge, although Wright had seven rebounds and three assists by halftime.

A hurtful win

Colorado defeated Stanford 59-56 on Wednesday night, which hurts and helps the Utes at the same time. With the win, the Buffaloes move to 10-7 in the Pac-12, making it difficult for Utah in its quest to catch CU in the standings.

It helps because it strengthens an already strong win for the Utes, who beat the Buffaloes last Saturday at the Huntsman Center. Colorado now has all but clinched an NCAA Tournament berth, and Utah helped itself by handling the Buffaloes when they had the opportunity.

Getting inside

In the past few weeks, the Utes have been a difficult team to deal with in the paint. Wednesday night proved no different, as Utah dominated that part of the game 18-4 in the first half against the Bears. Impressively, much of that work came against David Kravish and Richard Solomon, two of the better interior defenders in the league.

tjones@sltrib.com

twitter: @tjonessltrib

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