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Utes fall to BYU 74-59 in Beehive Classic

NCAA Basketball: Utah at Washington Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

It was a tale of two halves for the Utes, as they dropped the rivalry game to BYU for the second straight year by a score of 74-59. The Utes had a very good game plan, and executed it well in the first half. BYU is back to being a run and gun type team, that plays limited defense. The Utes were able to lock up the Cougars well in the opening half, holding them to just 37% shooting. The Utes were also able to be patient on offense and got plenty of open looks, and trailed by just four points going into the half. It was the Utes’ pace of play, but things swung in the second half, especially the first five minutes.

Utah buried themselves by coming out of the locker room flat, and immediately gave up a 13-0 run to BYU and was in a 17 points hole with about 15 minutes remaining in the game. It was a lot of missed layups, forced jumpers and lackluster defense that really did the Utes in in that second half. To their credit, they did rally and pulled the game to within eight points, but couldn’t pull any closer.

The Utes had a hard time containing Yoeli Childs, who had 31 points and did whatever he wanted against the Utes. He was especially unstoppable in the first half when the Utes had almost no answer for you. Utah did a good job limiting his supporting cast in the first half, but let them get loose in the second. BYU shot almost 60% in the second half, and Utah just doesn’t have the offensive firepower to counter. Sedrick Barefield battled with 16 points, but it’s becoming obvious that he can’t be the leader for the offense. He's just not efficient enough, and someone like Donnie Tillman really needs to step up. Tillman had 10 points on the game, but he was MIA for large stretches. He needs to assert himself more, he’s just too talented not to. Timmy Allen pitched in 13 points of his own, and gave the Utes a shot in the arm.

The Utes need to figure out what they want to be on offense. They’re not a great three point shooting team (only 10-30 from deep today) and they get too loose with the ball at times too. The lack of a guy like Justin Bibbins really hurts this squad. It’s not going to get easier either, with Kentucky next week and Nevada later.

I’m not sure what the answer is to get this team clicking more, especially with putting the ball in the basket, but they need to find it fast.