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Utah looking to keep momentum playing Pac-12 foe Washington


Utah started its final Pac-12 season with a bang. Now the Utes hope to keep things rolling Sunday when they host Washington in Salt Lake City.

Their opening game couldn’t have gone more perfectly. Utah (10-2, 1-0 Pac-12) pulled away from Washington State in the second half for an 80-58 victory Friday. It marked the seventh straight win for the Utes, who scored at least 20 points off turnovers for a second consecutive game.

Utah shot 60 percent (15 of 25) in the second half, including 7 of 11 on 3-point attempts against the Cougars to rally from a six-point deficit. Gabe Madsen led the way, scoring all of his team-high 20 points after halftime. He made four 3-pointers to fuel a decisive 16-2 run that put Utah ahead for good.

“It took a while to get going, but obviously as a good shooter, I’m going to take some more shots,” Madsen said. “It felt good to see them go in.”

Defensively, the Utes allowed just four baskets over the final 16 minutes. Keba Keita keyed that effort with 18 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks off the bench.

“Keba Keita, I thought, really impacted the game with his shot blocking, rim protection,” Utah coach Craig Smith said. “He played with a lot of force and physicality.”

Washington (8-4, 0-1) had a four-game winning streak snapped, falling to Colorado 73-69 in its league opener Friday. The Buffaloes rallied past the Huskies in the final two minutes.

A late offensive slump undid Washington. After taking a 63-56 lead on a dunk from Keion Brooks, Jr., the Huskies scored just six points over the final 5 1/2 minutes. Brooks finished with 20 points and eight rebounds to lead Washington.

“It’s hard to win on the road,” Washington coach Mike Hopkins said. “We have to bounce back.”

Bouncing back won’t be a simple task. Utah has won three of their past four games in Salt Lake City against the Huskies.

–Field Level Media

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