It was as good as you could have asked for from a college basketball game, but the Utes fell just short against the No. 4 ranked UCLA Bruins at the Huntsman Center. The Utes had a chance to win the game but a Kyle Kuzma three point attempt in the waning seconds of the game was long. I have a hard time believing that was the shot that Coach K drew up out of the timeout, since Utah was trailing by just a point, but with the clock winding down, it was possibly the best shot Utah was going to get.
The game was back and forth the entire time, but UCLA pulled ahead by 8 in the first half, and things were looking a little bit shaky. Utah battled back and actually took the lead with a couple seconds remaining before halftime, but Bryce Alford hit a garbage three that gave UCLA the 1 point lead at half.
The second half it was a bunch of give and take by both teams. Utah threatened to pull away a couple of times, by getting a 7 point lead, but UCLA would battle back and either tie the game or go ahead a score. It was a very balanced effort for the Utes, who were led by Lorenzo Bonam with 19 points on 9 of 14 shooting. Bonam led the assault on the paint all game long, as he Devon Daniels (15 points), Kyle Kuzma (15 points), Sedrick Barefield (13 points) and David Collette (11 points) made a living attacking the basket. UCLA’s interior defense left a lot to be desired, and Utah was able to take advantage of it. Barefield woke up late in the game from beyond the arc, as he and Bonam hit back to back threes, but were countered by UCLA.
Where Utah really had an opportunity was at the free throw line. Not that they missed them, but they were 3 of 6, but they couldn’t get there. Only 6 free throws is not good enough. Sure, UCLA wasn’t putting up much resistance, but Utah needs to get some calls. Utah did a great job taking care of the ball with only 9 turnovers, but they did have some timely ones as Lonzo Ball had a couple steals and dunks that kept UCLA in it in the 2nd half.
The Utes showed a lot today, and if they play like this going forward, they’re going to win a lot of games. Next up, the Utes travel to Washington to take on the Huskies and Cougars.