Timmy Allen scored 19 points and collected 10 rebounds while Both Gach added his own 19 points to help Utah beat Minnesota 73-69 in Salt Lake City on Friday night.
Riley Battin added 13 points and eight rebounds while Rylan Jones chipped in 10 points and six assists for the Utes. Utah (3-0) led from wire-to-wire while shooting 53 percent from the floor. Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak earned his 200th career victory.
Daniel Oturu scored 21 points and pulled down 18 rebounds to lead Minnesota. Marcus Carr finished with 15 points, nine rebounds and six assists while Gabe Kalscheur added 13 points for the Golden Gophers.
Minnesota (1-3) lost its third straight game despite committing only five turnovers.
Utah scored the game’s first 16 points and led 19-3 with 15:44 left in the first half. Gach hit a pair of free throws, drilled a 3-pointer, and then made a layup over three straight possessions to fuel the run. The Utes scored on eight of their first nine possessions.
Minnesota missed its first six shots before Oturu broke the ice with three straight baskets to finally end Utah’s run. The Golden Gophers initially struggled to make up lost ground to the Utes.
Minnesota trailed by double digits for much of the half until back-to-back baskets from Kalscheur and Carr cut Utah’s lead to 39-33 going into halftime. Back-to-back baskets from Alihan Demir brought Minnesota within a point at 39-38 early in the second half.
Utah weathered the initial run. Gach spun around three defenders for a layup to initially halt the run. Then Rylan Jones and Jaxon Brenchley combined for three straight 3-pointers to put the Utes ahead 50-40.
Minnesota answered with a 9-0 run to cut the deficit to 50-49. The Golden Gophers could not take a lead, however, and Utah finally pulled away late when Battin and Jones each hit a pair of free throws sandwiched around a dunk from Allen to give Utah a 67-59 lead with 1:36 remaining.
—Field Level Media