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Utah tops Arizona 83-76 for third straight win

NCAA Basketball: Utah at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

If there was ever a time to beat Arizona, it’s right now. The ‘Cats were in the midst of a five game losing streak going into this game, while dealing some injury issues, and distractions around the program. It wasn’t always pretty for the Utes, but they ended beating Arizona for the second time since joining the Pac-12 by a score of 83-76. The Utes were led by scorching hot Parker Van Dyke and his 23 points, 15 of which were in the first half, as well as Jayce Johnson, who had 17 points of his own.

It was pretty ugly on offense for both teams in the first half. It if wasn’t for PVD’s 15 points, and 5-of-5 shooting, the Utes would have been in a bad spot. Utah just couldn’t string together a lot of good offensive positions, and really struggled in the paint by trailing Arizona 14-4 in paint points, and Johnson getting some cheap fouls didn’t help. The ‘Cats did build a six point lead later in that opening half, but Utah ended the half on a 5-0 run of their own to bring it to within one.

The second half was really give and take for both teams for almost the first 10 minutes of the half, then the Utes made their run. They went on an 18-2 run to build a lead of as many as 16 points. Sedrick Barefield and Timmy Allen finally got things going in this stretch, as they had 15 points and 14 points respectively.

The key to the game, however, was Utah only turning the ball over 10 times. That is an insane number for this group. Coach K’s offense is really good, and produces good looks at the basket, but this team has struggled at getting shots up because they’re throwing the ball away. If they can find a way to bottle that up going forward, they’ll be a tough out for the rest of the teams in the Pac-12.

Arizona has now lost six straight, their worst run since the early ‘80s, and the Utes find themselves now by themselves in 2nd in the Pac-12. The Utes now turn their attention to ASU, who lost to Colorado on Wednesday night in Boulder.

It’s a late tip, 8pm on Saturday up at the Huntsman Center. If the Utes can get this home sweep, they’ll be in a nice position to getting that first round bye.