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Utes fall to Sun Devils at home

NCAA Basketball: Utah at Southern California Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The Arizona State Sun Devils exacted their revenge on the Runnin’ Utes in a late night tip on Saturday, claiming their 18th win of the season with a 98-87 victory over Utah. The loss now moves the Utes in to a tie for third place in the conference standings alongside ASU, and one game behind Oregon State. We grade the performance below.

Offense: B-

Timmy Allen and Sedrick Barefield played well offensively, with Allen in particular looking particularly dynamic, racking up 13 points to go along with his two assists and six rebounds. Barefield’s team high 17 points was matched by Parker Van Dyke, whose three point game had finally cooled off in the second half after shooting lights out over the past two games. Despite the good (but far from great) team effort, ASU had clear control of the game from the start, and Utah was simply outplayed.

Defense: C

Utah struggled to keep ASU from scoring from the opening tip, allowing junior guard Rob Edwards to put up season high 28 points, well above his season average of 9.5. Senior Zylan Cheatham’s 24 points was also a season high, and underscored just how poorly Utah’s defense performed in the loss.

Coaching: C

Credit to Larry Krystkowiak for digging deep into his bench, giving players such as junior Brandon Morley extended minutes in an attempt to find an answer to keep pace with the Sun Devils, but ultimately his attempts were futile. The most frustrating aspect of the game came in the final 1:13, with Utah down 93-84 there was visibly less urgency to foul and run down the other side of the court in an attempt to flip the momentum when compared to last week’s come from behind performance against UCLA.

Overall: C+

Just as it seemed the Utes had found their grove, another home loss grounds growing expectations. Utah will hit the road next week to face the Washington schools, starting with UW on February 20th. The Huskies are currently undefeated in conference play and look to be the front runner to represent the PAC-12 in the NCAA tournament next month.