The one constant with this Utah team appears to be their inability to figure out how to win close games. Such was the case again today against New Mexico, as Utah buckled down the stretch and lost to the Lobos for the first time at home in nearly 20 years. It was Utah's 4th home loss off the season and all but certainly doomed them to another year without any hope of postseason play. But the storyline of today's game is not that Utah once again lost, but how they lost.
Since the Jim Boylen era kicked off last year, the team has shown some signs of improvement. However, the mental aspect of that improvement has been nonexistent, as the team continues to make the same mistakes in close games -- issues that plagued Utah all of last year. What happened today was the exact same thing we saw last Wednesday against BYU, a few weeks ago against Wyoming and earlier in the season against Washington, Oregon, Gonzaga, San Diego State and New Mexico.
One of the problems for Utah has been the fact they still do not have solid and consistent point guard play. Tyler Kepkay, for whatever reason, just does not get it. That was on full display today as he once again shot Utah in the foot in the final seconds. His play has been extremely disappointing, because he was so highly touted coming out of Eastern Utah. But right now, he's become a far bigger hindrance than a help and I think it's time Boylen realizes the offense will not be successful if he's on the court.
It was a tough loss, but you've got to give credit to New Mexico. They looked far better coached and more prepared than the Utes and actually made the shots when they needed to, something Utah still hasn't figured out how to do.