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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.

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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.


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