Utah 79, Fresno St. 71
FRESNO, Calif. (AP) _ Keith Van Horn scored 26 points to lead hot-shooting Utah past Fresno State 79-71 Saturday night in the Western Athletic Conference.
The victory was the first in the conference for the Utes, who have won nine of their last 10. Fresno State has lost three straight, all conference games.
Fresno State couldn’t stop Utah’s barrage of 3-pointers, including four each from Van Horn and Brandon Jessie, who had 19 points. Terry Preston added 16 points for Utah (10-3, 1-1).
Dominick Young had 22 points, Davon Satterwhite had 19 and Anthony Pelle had 12 for Fresno State (5-6, 0-3).
Utah, which made 12 of 23 3-pointers, also was consistent at the free-throw line. The Utes hit 19 of 20 free throws, eight coming in the game’s final minute to seal the victory.
The Utes, ahead 35-33 at halftime, led the entire second half. The closest Fresno State could come was within a point at 41-40.
Ben Melmeth’s layup with 7:30 left gave Utah a nine-point lead _ 65-56 _ the Utes’ largest of the second half.
Utah jumped ahead early until Fresno State tied the score at 16 on Brandon Bakke’s 3-pointer from the top of the key with 11:54 left in the first half. The Bulldogs’ next score _ another Bakke 3-pointer _ put Fresno State ahead for the first time, 19-18.
The lead then alternated four times before Utah used a 12-4 run, including eight points from Jessie, to take a 35-27 advantage.
Before the game, Fresno State’s Rahsaan Smith said he would sit out the rest of the season because of a stress fracture in his right leg. Smith, a junior center, played in four games for the Bulldogs this season.