Jordan Adams scored 24 points Saturday, and UCLA opened the second half with a 14-0 run on the way to an 80-66 Saturday that ended Utah's three-game winning streak.
"The coaches told me to stay aggressive," said Adams, who made 10 of 14 shots after going 6 for 13 in Thursday's home win over Colorado. "After I have a bad shooting night, I just put it behind me. I tried to focus on this game. They beat us earlier in the year, so I was really focused on getting payback. Before I left the locker room at halftime, they told me to just keep moving the ball. They had a match-up zone, so I knew where to get my spots."
Kyle Anderson had 16 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for UCLA (20-5, 9-3 Pac-12), and Norman Powell had 13 points before fouling out with 50 seconds remaining. Anderson entered Saturday as only player in the nation who was averaging at least 10.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists.
"We came out very strong in the second half, and that's where we make our runs," Anderson said. "The coach told us about the old Lakers teams, the old Bulls teams, always made a statement in the third quarter. But that doesn't only go for the NBA. That's just where teams are at their best. The first four minutes we played very well. We got stops on defense, we got scores and we opened it up."
The Bruins have won six of seven since Utah beat them 71-67 on Jan. 18 at the Huntsman Center despite Anderson's season-high 28 points—the last time Utah gave up 25 or more by an opposing player. That loss dropped the Bruins out of the AP top 25, and they haven't been back since.
"I'm extremely pleased with our guys. We took it to another level today," coach Steve Alford said. "Neither team came out of the gate strong to start the game, but I really liked our defensive intensity for about 32 minutes. We showed enormous progress there, and we came out strong at halftime again. Utah is a really great shooting team, and we held them to around 40 percent."
Delon Wright scored 16 points for the Utes (17-8, 6-7), who finished 41.8 percent from the field. They are 3-29 on the road since Larry Krystkowiak became coach in 2011-12.
"They put some heat on us in the second half and it demoralized us," Krystkowiak said. "It was one of those kind of spurts where they were playing hard, and they brought some of the offensive energy down to the defensive side as well. We were playing from behind, but I am proud of our guys for not giving up."
This was only the second loss this season by Utah that was decided by more than four points. The other was Jan. 26, when the Utes lost to then-unbeaten Arizona 65-56 at Tucson. Utah was coming off its first road win of the season, a 79-71 decision against USC on Thursday.
"The second half their players just scored and made plays," forward Jordan Loveridge said. "When you have guys like Adams and Anderson getting hot, it's tough to beat that team. We thought we could beat them. We're not satisfied going 1-1 on this road trip."
Adams paced UCLA to a 33-31 halftime lead with 12 points. Neither team led by more than six until Travis Ware's 3-pointer increased the Bruins' margin to 40-31 with 16:38 to play. Adams converted a three-point play 66 seconds later after a missed 3-point attempt at the other end by Loveridge, making it 45-31.
"Our defense is about effort. We always want to be in help-defense mode," Powell said. "This is what we've picked up over the last several games. This is what Coach preaches to us, and guys have bought into it."
The Utes didn't make a field goal in the second half until Loveridge connected on an 18-footer with 14:27 remaining. Anderson gave UCLA its biggest lead, 64-47, on a jumper with 5:46 to play and Utah got no closer than 74-64 after Wright was fouled behind the 3-point line by Powell and made all three free throws.
"We didn't come out and play as aggressively as we needed to play," Wright said. "I kind of let the game come to me, and that's a bad thing. We were only down by two at the beginning of the second half, but then we couldn't get a stop and we couldn't score. When both of those things happen at the same time, that's bad for us."
Freshman guard Zach LaVine, the Bruins' leading scorer off the bench and fourth-leading scorer overall coming in, missed his first six shots before ending the drought on a layup with 39 seconds on the clock.
ULCA came in averaging 83.2 points through its first 24 games—the Bruins' highest output at that stage since 1994-95, when they had an 87.5 scoring average and went on to win the school's 16th NCAA championship.
That season also marked the last time a UCLA player recorded at least 200 rebounds and 100 assists until this one, when Anderson became the first since Charles O'Bannon to turn the trick.