It’s a tough stretch for the Utes, as they are now in a three game losing streak after dropping to Arizona in Tucson on Thursday night. The Utes have now lost to Oregon, Colorado and Arizona in consecutive games, three of the better teams in the league. The bigger, more athletic teams are really causing the Utes fits right now.
The Utes really fell behind the eight ball early, once again, against the Wildcats, as defense was an issue. The Utes gave up 52 first half points, and 54% shooting. The Wildcats were lethal from deep, as they shot 8 of 14 from three point range in that opening half. When you’re down 24 points at half, there’s really not a lot you can do to dig out of that hole.
Utah did give a better effort in the second half, as they jumped out to a quick 8-0 run, but Arizona kept the lead at around the 20 point mark a majority of the second half, as Utah is searching for some answers as they move into Arizona State after the 93-77 loss. ASU is a winnable game for the Utes if they show up and execute. Offensively the Utes weren’t bad on Thursday, as they shot 44% for the game and only turned the ball over 13 times, but they need to defend much better going forward.
Riley Battin finished with a season-high 16 points behind three-threes while Timmy Allen added 16 points of his own to lead the Utes while Rylan Jones posted 11 points of his own to go with five assists. Alfonso Plummer had nine quick points off the bench, knocking down 2-of-3 from long distance and 3-of-3 from the line. Jaxon Brenchley led the team with five boards while three other players had four.
Coach K after the game...
“I’m convinced as my physician told me with all my knee injuries that if experiences don’t kill you it’s going to make you stronger. And, I trust that we got a sense of what a big boy basketball is like and what we need to do and what we need to clean up. It felt better I thought; we competed better, we did not quit in this game. We had some guys coming in off the bench that haven’t played much and I thought they contributed. You know, get big Matt and Marc Reininger out there setting screens and some guys hit some shots. Hopefully we can get in game mode here and not that the season or the schedule lightens up… I don’t want to discredit anybody that’s coming up but it certainly isn’t going to be the same category of what we’ve gone through.”