Timmy Allen scored 23 points and added 11 rebounds, and Both Gach finished with 22 points as Utah earned a 79-74 victory over Nevada on Tuesday at Reno, Nev., in the season opener for both teams.
Utah rode a dominating effort on the boards (45-30) to spoil the start of the Steve Alford era at Nevada. The former UCLA coach, beginning his 29th season as a head coach, lost his first game with the Wolf Pack.
The Utes, who have 11 freshmen on the roster, managed to extend the program’s lead in the all-time series to 11-1 and end Nevada’s streak of 18 straight wins at the Lawler Events Center.
Nevada guard Lindsey Drew led all scorers with a career-high 30 points to go with eight assists and seven rebounds. The senior shot 12-for-19 from the field, including 5-for-9 on 3-point attempts.
Utah guard Alfonso Plummer was whistled twice for flopping in the game — a new rule instituted this season.
Drew was hot from the outset, making nine of 11 shots to keep the Wolf Pack from falling into a big deficit due to foul trouble and being dominated on the glass.
Utah built a 55-47 lead with just under 12 minutes remaining despite making just three of its first 16 3-point tries and shooting 60 percent (12-for-20) from the free throw line.
After not leading since early in the first half, Nevada got consecutive hoops from Jazz Johnson amid a 9-0 run to take a 58-56 lead. But Utah answered with its own run, capped by a deep 3-pointer from Gach to give the Utes a 69-63 lead with just under four minutes left.
In the first half, Utah rode a strong start, sparked by Allen and Gach, to take a 37-32 lead into the break.
Drew kept the Wolf Pack in the game by connecting on seven of his first nine shots to establish a career high with 18 points in the first 20 minutes.
—Field Level Media