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Utah rallies in the 2nd half to top Washington

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

It really was a tale of two halfs for the Utes up in Seattle on Thursday night. A team who was looking so sharp and aggressive in the last couple of games, weeks even, looked sluggish and couldn’t do much right in the opening 20 minutes of the game. Utah was down 8, luckily, after shooting 27% in that first half compared to Washington’s 48%. Granted, UW is a good team, and losing up in Seattle wouldn’t have been totally surprising, and that’s the way the game was going. Then the second half came around.

Utah looked like a different team in that second half, and they were led by senior David Collette, who has been on a tear from the field the last couple of weeks. Collette’s 22 points paced the Utes, who were balanced on the night, and he was 8 of 10 from the field and went an impressive 6 of 6 from the free throw line. He was battling foul trouble, which is no surprise, but he helped Utah dig out of that 8 point hole. Utah went on a great run the first 10 minutes of the second half, with a 16-2 rally that really flipped the script for the Utes. Like I stated, it was a balanced effort from the Utes, specifically from the starters. Each starter was in double figures with Tyler Rawson having 15 points and 11 rebounds, and Justin Bibbins, Parker Van Dyke, and Sedrick Barefield each chipping in 10, with some big buckets coming from Bibbins in that 2nd half that kept UW at bay. Utah’s 18 assists on 23 made shots is very impressive, and when Utah is playing unselfish and moving the ball, they’re going to be tough to beat. That is exactly what they need to keep up as they come down the home stretch these last couple of weeks. Utah doesn’t have that overwhelming individual talent, but when they play unselfish and with a purpose, it’s fun basketball to watch. Also, Utah won the rebounding battle by 10, that’s big news. Utah has stuggled in that department much of the season, and if they can do that, along with taking care of the ball, they’ll have a strong finish this season.

With all that said, Utah could use a little more punch from the bench. Having all the starters score in double figures is great, but I don’t think that’s likey to happen each night. Between the three or four guys they run out there, 15-20 points is what we’d like to see, not the 3 they got tonight.

All-in-all, a good win, and Utah continues to climb the Pac-12, with a shot at that first round bye. Next up is Wazzu on Saturday.