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Utes wilt in second half in loss to Oregon

Utah blows another lead, this time on the road against the Ducks.

Scott Olmos-USA TODAY Sports

Utah has been wildly inconsistent this season. In some games, as was the case earlier in the week against Oregon State, they fail to show up. And then in others, as was the case tonight, they in fact do show up and play well for a good portion of the contest - maybe even lead - and give us some reason to hope that maybe, even though it seems improbable, they'll win. Unfortunately, even though they're inconsistent in their performance, they're consistent in the end result - it's almost always a loss.

Saturday night, Utah led Oregon by eight at the half and looked poised for another huge step against a ranked team in their arena. Alas, as it's been the case often this season, the Runnin' Utes struggled maintaining a lead and couldn't pull out what would be a very impressive victory.

Instead, Utah left Eugene 73-64 losers and fell to 2-9 in Pac-12 play. They're once again stuck in the cellar for a prolonged period.

What's so disappointing about this stretch, these struggles we've seen the last four seasons, is that even when Utah looks good, it never seems to be lasting. It's always temporary. Either it continues for only a game or, even worse, peters out before the final 40 minutes are up.

This has been the story with the Runnin' Utes since Jim Boylen's third season and it continues today.

So, while I'm glad the team did not get blown out like they did the last time Utah played at Oregon, the loss still hurts because, as it was against BYU, the Utes held the halftime lead and then wilted in the second half.

Those are always harder to accept and take than blowout defeats because you get your hopes up and yes, for a period of time, I believed Utah would win this game in a similar fashion to their win against Washington on the road.

But the old Utes, the Utes who generally struggle through big stretches of games, showed up in the second half and it ultimately resulted in a loss that felt far less competitive than the final score might've indicated.

Another tough loss and another blown lead. Now Utah heads home to take on Arizona State and Arizona. I don't know if they'll win either game, but you've got to think they'll need a split to best last year's Pac-12 win total. Because right now, if they drop both, it's hard to find two more wins left on the schedule.