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Utes drop first road game to Xavier 77-69

NCAA Basketball: Utah at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

The Utes took to the road for the first time this season, and they performed well in the loss to Xavier by a score of 77 to 69. Going into the game, the Utes have played well throughout the season thus far, but I wasn’t real sure they’d be able to take that on the road, and sure enough they did. The Utes just couldn’t get over the hump, but they were within striking distance most of the game.

In the first half, the Utes fell behind by 15 points, but just chipping away at the lead until they trailed by 9 at half. A player that really put his stamp on the game, and raised my eyebrows a bit was Devon Daniels. Daniels had 19 points on the night, and was Utah’s leading scorer. He was the primary reason Utah was able to maintain a reach on Xavier, especially at the end of the first half when he was almost single-handedly kept the Utes close.

The story would remain largely the same in the second half, but Utah did come out of the half throwing some punches, and shot better from downtown early in the second half, but couldn’t connect for much longer than that early stretch. Utah was also getting beat up pretty well on the glass in the first half, something they tightened up a bit in the second half, only losing the rebounding battle by 5. The Utes did have three other players score in double figures, joining Daniels, with Lorenzo Bonam having 18, JoJo Zamora having 12, and Kyle Kuzma with 11. Teams are doing their best at keeping Kuzma out of the paint, and he’s not really making them pay from deep, which has been a struggle for him. He went 1 of 5 from deep, so they have to figure out a better way to get him down low, because the three ball just isn’t his game.

All-in-all, I’m pleased with the way Utah played, it showed me more in this loss than most of the games thus far. The Utes will be getting Sedric Barefield and David Collette this coming week (or they should be), and it’ll be interesting what happens when they join the lineup, because there are some nice pieces on this team.