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Utah loses to Stanford 81-75

NCAA Basketball: Utah at Stanford Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Well, the Utes NCAA chances all but had a fork stuck in them today, as they dropped a bad loss to Stanford by a score of 81-75. The theme was similar to the Cal game too, they just couldn’t get out of their own way with 17 turnovers on the game. On top of that, missing nine free throws doesn’t help either. Utah started slow in this game, and then finished with a bit of a draught too, which allow Stanford to take a nine point lead with only a couple of minutes left, and that was basically the game.

During conference play, the Utes have been pretty solid taking care of the ball, but this road trip was pretty awful, with them turning the ball over 36 times between the two games. These were two games Utah should have, and needed to win to keep their tournament dreams alive, but they turned that over too.

The Utes didn’t play well on defense either, giving up 55% shooting from the field, including 50% from deep, where the Cardinal regularly shoot around 30% on the season. The Utes would routinely lose guys behind the arc, and the Cardinal would make them pay. The Utes allowed another player to get loose on them too, just like Bird at Cal, Reid Travis dropped 26 points on the Utes on 11 of 15 shooting.

On offense, the Utes were led by Tyler Rawson, who had his best game with 20 points, including 4 of 6 from deep, but did pitch in four turnovers of his own. Kyle Kuzma had another double-double, with 18 points and 11 rebounds. David Collette also had double figures with 12 points, but he’s still light in the rebounding column, with just four. Utah’s guards struggled on the trip, and none of them scored in double figures today.

Utah did make a push later in the second half, when they took a four point lead and had all of the momentum; but that momentum was really sucked away when Kuz got called for a bad charging call, which negated a basket and a possible free throw. The Cardinal would go down hit a three and then would eventually build that nine point lead.

The Utes have lost three of four, and are reeling after dropping two winnable games. They now return home for the Washington schools, where they pretty much have to win out to even have a chance to make the NCAA’s, including a win over Oregon in Eugene. The Utes didn’t have any good wins before today, outside of maybe USC, but they didn’t have any bad losses, which kept them treading water. Now that is gone, they need a lot of help. Hopefully it starts with a couple of wins this upcoming week.