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June 18, 2021

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Hot-shooting Utah beats Washington State, 71-56

Williams leads Cougars with 17 points

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Washington State coach Kyle Smith, center, talks to the team during a break in play in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Utah in Pullman, Wash., Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021.
Washington State coach Kyle Smith, center, talks to the team during a break in play in the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Utah in Pullman, Wash., Thursday, Jan. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Young Kwak) Photo Gallery

PULLMAN — Branden Carlson scored 14 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the first double-double by a Utah player this season, and the balanced, potent Utes offense handed Washington State a stinging 71-56 defeat at home on Thursday night.

Washington State had lost but once at Friel Court this season, 86-82 in double overtime to Arizona on Jan. 2.

Thursday, Utah (6-6, 3-5 Pacific-12 Conference) made seven of its first 10 shots and never looked back, building a 43-26 lead at the half on 66.7% shooting — tied for its best first-half percentage this season (versus No. 17 Oregon Jan. 9).

Four other Utes reached double figures with Timmy Allen scoring 13, Alfonso Plummer and Riley Battin 12 each and Mikael Jantunen 10. The win was Utah’s first on the road this season.

Utah shot 55% for the game, making 28 of 51 shots with 19 assists. Rylan Jones dished 10 assists, the fifth player in Pac-12 play this season with 10 or more.

Noah Williams led the Cougars (9-5, 2-5) with 17 points, five assists and four steals. Efe Abogidi added 12 points. Only one other Cougar scored more than six as WSU was 20-of-53 shooting (38%).

The loss is the fourth straight for WSU. Utah has won the last 13 matchups in the series.

In the first half Carlson, Jantunen and Plummer combined 32 points on 14-of-18 shooting.

Utah continues its Pacific Northwest swing, visiting Washington on Sunday. Washington State plays host to Colorado on Saturday, before turning right around to play at Colorado on Wednesday.

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