Updated at: 02/17/2013 4:38 PM
By LYNN DeBRUIN
(AP) SALT LAKE CITY - Mark Lyons scored 18 points, freshman Brandon Ashley added 10 in a reserve role and No. 9 Arizona defeated Utah 68-64 on Sunday to snap a two-game skid.
Arizona led by as many as 13 early in the second half only to see Utah respond with a 14-3 run to tie it at 51 with 7:28 remaining on Jason Washburn’s tip-in.
A 3-pointer by Dakarai Tucker pulled Utah within two with 4:46 left, but a putback by Kevin Parrom and a layup by Lyons helped seal it for the Wildcats (21-4, 9-4 Pac-12), who were coming off their worst loss of the season.
Jarred DuBois had 16 points, Washburn 15 and Jeremy Olsen 12 for the Utes (11-14, 3-10), who have yet to win back-to-back conference games since joining the Pac-12 two years ago.
Arizona coach Sean Miller shuffled his lineup, starting Parrom, a 6-foot-6 senior forward, over the 6-8 Ashley in hopes of avoiding another sluggish start.
Arizona led 33-25 at halftime, with Ashley contributing six points off the bench.
Despite the win and losses last week by other top 10 teams, Arizona is expected to fall when the new rankings are released Monday.
With five games remaining, the Wildcats are tied with UCLA for second place in the conference standings, a game behind No. 23 Oregon.
Just like the first game between Arizona and Utah, this one went down to the wire.
Early in the second half, however, the Wildcats appeared to take control.
Arizona bumped its lead to 41-28 on a twisting layup by Lyons with 17:43 left as it opened the second half on an 8-3 run.
Utah, with three freshmen on the floor, fought back.
DuBois and Tucker hit 3-pointers and Olsen had two more baskets in the paint during Utah’s big run.
After Washburn tied it, Solomon Hill scored on a tough layup and Lyons converted a three-point play as Arizona went up 56-51.
Utah pulled to 60-57 on two free throws by DuBois with 3:15 remaining. But freshman Jordan Loveridge, who was 1 of 9 from the field, turned it over and Parrom scored on a nice feed from Lyons for a five-point edge with 1:48 left.
DuBois made one of two free throws and Lyons scored on a drive with 1:10 left for a 64-58 edge.
Washburn hit a 3 at the buzzer to make the final margin closer.
Arizona led by as many as 12 points in the first half as the Wildcats hit five 3-pointers and limited Utah to 37 percent shooting.
Arizona went cold from 3-point range in the second half, making just 1 of 10.
Lyons was 1 for 9 from beyond the arc but 5 of 6 on free throws.
Utah shot just 39.6 percent and finished 7 of 16 from 3-point range after going 2 of 8 in the first half.
Olsen came off the bench and kept Utah within reach before the break by hitting all three of his shots. Brandon Taylor’s driving layup with 1 second left pulled the Utes to 33-25 at the break.
Parrom was scoreless in the first half. Ashley entered about 5 minutes in and scored four points in 60 seconds.
Grant Jerrett also had six points off the bench for the Wildcats in the first half, while Hill started strong and had eight points and six rebounds in the first half.
Arizona took only six shots in the first 9 minutes but made five to jump ahead 14-9.
Hill opened 3 of 3, including a pair of 3-pointers, to give Arizona a 21-14 lead with 8:44 left in the half.
Lyon’s 3-pointer with 6:27 left made it 26-17, and his free throws with 1:43 to go put Arizona ahead 33-21.
(Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)