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Overmatched Utes blasted by Bruins on the road

LOS ANGELES — Utah's road woes continued in UCLA's home away from home.

The Utes dropped a 76-49 decision to the Bruins at the Los Angeles Sports Arena on Thursday night, extending the program's skid outside the Huntsman Center to 12 games over the past two seasons.

This time, though, the Utes just didn't match up well. The Bruins stood much taller physically with four 6-foot-10 players — Joshua Smith, David Wear, Travis Wear and Anthony Stover — doing much of the damage.

"What we lack in size we've got to make up for in heart and effort," said Utah center Jason Washburn, the Utes' lone big man. "... Our starting group of guys, the guys who are supposed to give you the most productivity, including me, kind of shut down a little bit when things got hard."

Utah (5-15, 2-6) never led in its latest loss and managed to tie the score just twice. UCLA (11-9, 4-4) broke an early 11-11 standstill by scoring six straight points to take the lead for good in the inaugural Pac-12 meeting between the teams.

"I thought their defense was really good, and I thought we were trying to beat them with one-on-one moves that we don't possess," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said while reeling off shortcomings by the Utes. "It was one of the first times I thought offensively we didn't play hard and we didn't play together."

The Bruins built a 36-21 halftime advantage as Smith and David Wear combined for 16 points. Chris Hines topped the Utes with eight.

Utah's first three baskets came from beyond the arc. Hines hit two of the 3-pointers, while Dijon Farr had the other. The shots allowed the Utes to overcome an early deficit and even things up at 9-9.

An exchange of scores followed before UCLA's decisive run. Utah never drew closer than four points after that. The Utes turned the ball over eight times in the pivotal half and shot just 34.8 percent (8-of-23) from the floor.

Things grew worse in the second half as the Bruins extended their lead to as many as 36 points. Krystkowiak noted that the Utes faced two different mindsets, a man-to-man-very-physical team that tries to take you out of it and a 2-3 matchup zone.

"I just told our guys, we're pretty good when there's not pressure on us. But when we get sped up it got us out of sorts," Krystkowiak said. "We talked about it all week. We knew what we were going to face. We can't simulate it."

The lopsided setback followed Utah's biggest victory of the season — a 64-43 win over Arizona State last Saturday in Salt Lake City.

"It hurts. A loss like that hurts," said Hines, who led Utah with 13 points. "It just felt like we weren't competing on the defensive end like we know how to. Shots weren't falling."

The Utes will remain in Los Angeles to face USC on Saturday.

"We we'll give it our best and try to put together a game plan," Krystkowiak said.

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