The Utes are coming home after getting swept by the Arizona schools, with the Utes losing to ASU on Saturday night 83-64. The Utes were led by Timmy Allen’s 18 points and 10 rebounds for his fifth double-double of the season. Mikael Jantunen added 10 points and five rebounds on 4-of-4 shooting with two assists off the bench with Alphonso Plummer posting nine points of his own.
Utah played ASU tough in the opening half, and guys like Plummer giving them a spark, but Utah’s offense was really bad on this night. In the first half they shot just 29%, while they shot 39% for the game, and also turned the ball over 18 times. The Utes have gone through droughts this season, but the turnovers haven’t been bad. When you combine the two, like Saturday, then it’s a lethal combination. ASU turned those turnovers into 28 points. That alone is pretty much the story of the game. When you’re on the road, you can’t just give the other team extra possessions, and when those turn into almost a half’s worth of points, you’re just digging yourself a hole that you won’t be able to dig outof.
The second half was really a game of runs. ASU started with a mini run, then Utah would cut the lead. ASU built a 16 point lead, and then Utah would cut it back down to single digits. But it was ASU with the final run in the last 4 minutes of the game to put it out of reach.
It was a tough game for the Utes, where Coach K was ejected, and the Utes are just out of sorts right now - on both sides of the court. Utah couldn’t get a stop in the second half, giving up almost 70% shooting. Sure, the Utes ironed out the offense a bit, but when you can’t get a stop, then it’s hard to really go anywhere when you’re already fighting uphill. Allen got rolling a little bit in this game, mostly in the second half after a tough first, but he’s not getting a ton of help, especially from the guys who need to help. Both Gach had 3 points and 3 turnovers on 1 of 7 shooting, and just seems to be forcing everything. Rylan Jones had 4 points and 4 turnovers on 0 of 4 shooting, which hopefully is just a freshman slump.
Utah is now in a tailspin losing 4 in a row, and will finally return home this week to play the Washington schools. Hopefully returning home allows the team to regroups and regain some footing after a nice start to the season.
Coach K after the loss:
“I was pretty pleased with our defense initially in the game. The offense, it’s just been atrocious. Individual players need to step up and have impact. I think we need to do a better job of sharing the ball. You know we had a pretty good plan first half, we were really good with Remi Martin and I thought our post defense was really good. We let Rob Edwards get loose, I think he had 12 at half and that was a difference. I mean we are down six at half. Offensively, I thought the first half was kind of a killer. Then we went into the second half, got down 16, and made some terrific basketball plays. We shared ball, hit a couple open threes, cut a 16-point lead down to eight in less than three minutes, and then kind of got back to that forced offense.”