SALT LAKE CITY – Jordan Loveridge scored 17 points and Dakarai Tucker added 14 to help Utah overwhelm St. Katherine 124-51 on Saturday to extend its home winning-streak to 13 games.
Alex Perez scored 13 points for St. Katherine (2-13), an NAIA school playing its debut season. The four games the Firebirds have played against Division I schools this season have resulted in losses with an average margin of 70 points.
Utah led 19-0 before Perez finally broke the drought with a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 10:38 left in the first half that brought sympathy cheers from the crowd.
The Utes (11-1) are off to the team’s best start since 1997-98 – the year they went all the way to the National Championship game.
Perhaps the biggest news from this blowout was the entrance of Marko Kovacevic, Utah’s 6-foot-11 junior post who just recently began practicing after suffering a broken wrist. The Ute coaching staff had been considering redshirting the junior transfer from Western Community College but he entered the game in the first half and played eight minutes. He finished with eight points and six rebounds.
The Firebirds attempted 39 3-pointers, making nine – a much better performance than the 3-of-38 mark in a loss at San Diego State the night before.
The Firebirds finally scored their first basket in the paint more than five minutes into the second half when Joshua White, who had 12 points, lofted in a layup. The Utes dominated points in the key, 80-14.
Utah played 15 players and all but one walk-on scored in the game. Next up is a far tougher test for the Utes – a matchup with the No. 10 Oregon Ducks in a Pac-12 opener on Thursday.
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