Pac-12 basketball: No. 12 Tennessee gets past Colorado; Utah beats Idaho State

Tennessee's Santiago Vescovi defends against Colorado's Keeshawn Barthelemy.
Tennessee’s Santiago Vescovi defends against Colorado’s Keeshawn Barthelemy on Tuesday in Knoxville, Tenn.
(Caitie McMekin / Associated Press)

After five pandemic-related postponements, No. 12 Tennessee made the most of its opener Tuesday night, struggling to a 56-47 victory over Colorado.

The Vols (1-0) didn’t get their first player into double figures until less than a minute remained when John Fulkerson hit two free throws to reach 11 points. Santiago Vescovi also scored 11.

Reserve Jeriah Horne scored 15 points for the Buffaloes (2-1), who had their own COVID-19 problems. They had a 10-day layoff, then traveled halfway across country to finally play a game.


McKinley Wright, who averaged 22 points in Colorado’s first two games, was handcuffed by the Vols’ defense. He scored six points in the first half and finished with eight.

Leading by seven at halftime, Tennessee struggled at the start of the second half. The Vols started 1 for 5 and Colorado closed within 33-31.

Defense then ignited the Vols. Keon Johnson batted the ball off McKinley for a turnover and converted a dunk on the offensive end. Colorado’s next possession ended in a steal by Vescovi, who drained a 3-pointer for a 38-31 lead.

A dunk and free throw by James put Tennessee ahead 44-34 with 11:48 to play.

Colorado played like a team that hadn’t faced an opponent since Nov. 27 and had to take a long trip to see some action.

With just under eight minutes gone in the first half, the Buffaloes had hit 1 of 9 shots and turned the ball over six times as the Volunteers jumped out to a 17-2 lead.

Tennessee upped its advantage to 26-10 before the Buffaloes woke up. Horne scored five points in a 14-2 run.


Utah 75, Idaho State 59

Freshman Pelle Larsson scored 14 points to lead six Utah players in double-figure scoring, and the Utes beat Idaho State 75-59 on Tuesday night.

Branden Carlson and Alfonso Plummer each added 13 points for Utah (2-0). Rylan Jones had 12 points and five assists, Timmy Allen scored 11 and Mikael Jantunen, who made his fifth-career start, added 10 points. Allen is 77 points shy of becoming the 21st player in program history to reach 1,000 career points as a junior.

Carlson scored the first four points of the game and Plummer put Utah ahead by double figures after 11 minutes. The Utes led 41-20 at the break after shooting 50.9% from the field, including 9 of 18 behind the arc.

Jones also had five steals, and Utah scored 22 points off 19 Idaho State turnovers.

Tarik Cool scored 18 points for Idaho State (0-4), and Robert Ford III added 10. ISU returned just three players from last year’s roster that got playing time.

Utah, which opened its season with a 76-62 victory over Washington last week, is scheduled to play at in-state rival BYU on Saturday. The Bengals open their home schedule next week against Eastern Oregon.