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Utah drops 2nd straight game at home, loses to ASU 80-77

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NCAA Basketball: Arizona State at Utah Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

It was another tough loss for the Utah basketball team on Sunday night, as they dropped to 2-2 in league play after a loss to ASU at home. These two losses aren’t a big shock, which is why getting the road sweep in Oregon was such a big deal, it gave them some cushion before taking on two of the better teams in the league, which they played really tough. It just hurts that they lost both of them at home. We’ll dig a bit more into the game tomorrow, but here are some quick takeaways.

Slow starts need to stop

For the second straight game, the Utes fell behind by double digits early in the game due to a poor start. The Utes couldn’t hit anything early on, and were playing like they did against Arizona. They were able to claw back and take a lead at halftime, but it takes a lot of energy to dig out of holes, and if it continues, it’s going to be rough on the team for the rest of the season.

No rebounds, no wins

To borrow from the old “no rebounds, no rings” quote, the Utes need to get better on the glass if they want to be competitive in this league. For the second straight game they lost the battle of the boards, while giving up 12 offensive rebounds to the Sun Devils. Too often the Utes would hold the Devils, and then give up the board to all ASU another shot, which hurt the Utes over and over again. ASU had 17 more field goal attempts than Utah, and with a team that can really score it, that’s going to come back and bite you, and it did.

Guards are playing great

Justin Bibbins and Sedric Barefield are playing great right now. Guard play is the life blood of college basketball, and if these two keep up this level of play throughout, they’ll be a tough out and may cause some damage in March.

Bench needs to step up

Seven points off the bench isn’t good enough, period. That squad needs to give a better lift going forward or else the starters are going to run out of gas. Not having Tillman tonight hurt, but it was nice to see Seeley back in action. The Utes have some young skill on the bench, but they need to produce better than they did tonight.