SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - Jordan Loveridge had a triumphant return to Utah’s lineup.
The junior forward scored 14 points after missing the last seven games with a knee injury to help No. 10 Utah rout Carroll College 85-49 on Tuesday night.
He quickly made an impact when he entered the game a few minutes in. Loveridge had five quick points, including a 3-pointer.
“He hit some shots and looked like himself for the most part,” said Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak.
Loveridge showed no rust and looked a step quicker, something noticeable to his coach
“I think his legs stronger than maybe it’s been in a long time, so it might be refreshing for him. I see him getting up and down the floor,” Krystkowiak said. “He’s a guy, I think at this point in the season that’s probably going to be our freshest, in terms of legs.”
For the Utes’ skilled small forward, he was just glad to be able to contribute.
“It was fun to be back out there, especially after watching all the big games,” said Loveridge. “I’m just glad I could help them out tonight. I was just trying to find my game rhythm, back in this setting. Coach didn’t want to throw me right in there during conference play.”
Utah (10-2) scored the first 12 points of the game to take command early. At the end of the first half, the Utes led 54-23.
Oliver Carr led the Fighting Saints with 11 points, as the NAIA school fell to 10-4.
The Fighting Saint made a small run to cut the Utah lead to 61-32 in the second half, but couldn’t come much closer. With just 15 minutes to play, Krystkowiak subbed out his entire line-up in order to clean things up. “Our first eight possessions of the second half were four turnovers. We finished the game, with what, 18 turnovers, something like that. So, you know, just too sloppy,” he said.
Along with Loveridge, both Brekkott Chapman and Chris Reyes scored in double figures with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Despite a significant size advantage, Utah’s freshman phenom Jakob Poeltl was held to nine points and six rebounds in 22 minutes. Delon Wright added nine points and seven assists in 23 minutes.
The victory ends a challenging non-conference schedule, on that is sure to help, come Pac-12 play.
“At the end of the day, the reason that we tackled that schedule was so that it prepared us for league,” said Krystkowiak.
Utah now enters Pac-12 play with a target on its back and Krystkowiak couldn’t be more pleased with their record.
“If you would have told me we could be 10-2 and get through that preseason schedule, I would have hit the ‘deal’ button in no time.”
With the reemergence of Loveridge, the sudden breakout of Chapman, the steady hands of Wright and Poeltl, along with everyone else, junior forward Chris Reyes like where this team is headed. “We’re gelling really well, right now,” he said.
The Utes held a commanding rebounding advantage 38-15.
“We got clobbered on the boards and they are huge. They are 10th in the nation for a reason,” said Carroll College coach Carson Cunningham.
Utah: Made its first appearance back in the top 10, since the 1998-99 season when the Utes were led by Andre Miller. … Utah is one of two Pac-12 teams in the top 10. Arizona is No. 8. … Utah was 6-1 without Loveridge. Utah freshman Kyle Kuzma left the game and is day-to-day a minor muscle problem in his back.
Utah: hosts USC on Friday
Carroll College: hosts University of Calgary on Sunday
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