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Utes lucky in Las Vegas; beat Rebels 73-69

Las Vegas puns never get old, I tell you! NEVER GET OLD.

Utah, fresh off its horrifying trip to the Land of Crystal Met..err Enchantment, went into the desert city sucking our water dry and surprised the Lon Kruger boys 73-69. It was a victory unexpected and now positions Utah as a conference player. False optimism or a sign of things to come? Stay tuned...

The game was actually pretty good. The Utes managed to stay on the Rebels' heels the entire first half and even led at the break. But if you've followed Utah basketball over the last few years, you've seen this story before. Except this one had a nice twist at the end.

You see, the Utes haven't been horrible against the Rebels on the road. In fact, they've been rather close to pulling out a huge upset win over the years. Let's recap:

2009: Utes lead by eight at the half, crumble in the second and lose by ten.

2008: Utes lead by two at the half, crumble late in the second and lose by seven.

2007: Utes have a chance to win the game at the line in regulation, miss the free throws and lose by three in double OT. 

2006: Utes lead 27-23 at the half, blow the lead and lose 58-65

It was about time, eh?

Finally, Utah held onto that halftime lead and won in Las Vegas for the first time since the 2005 season. That was the year Andrew Bogut led Utah to the Sweet Sixteen. Years ago. Think back to what you were doing this exact day five years ago. You can't remember, can you? 

Thankfully, Utah wasn't challenged by history this time around. I don't know what the difference quite was because this team did a complete 180 (or 360 if you're Karl Malone) from its last performance. But isn't that what we've experienced the entire damn season? One step forward, one step back. You put your right foot in. You put your right foot out. You put your right foot in and you shake it all about. 

Now if we can find some consistency and actually start winning and not winning and losing and winning again. 

They'll have a chance to do that against the Aztecs at home Tuesday. 

But for now, Utah is tied for second in the Mountain West with two of their toughest games of the season behind them. Not bad.