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UTAH WINS!!!! Beats the Beavers 84-59 - Game Thread

Instant Analysis and Reaction and Final Thoughts

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

Game Notes:

After a painful double-overtime loss in Seattle, the Utes are back home to face the team that started their current 10 game losing streak; Oregon State. The Utes lost Saturday in double overtime to the Washington Huskies 77-73 after having a great shot to win the game in regulation and again in overtime but just ran out of steam in the second overtime. Branden Carlson finished with a team-high 18 points in the losing effort; certainly a positive sign after returning from his bout with appendicitis. The Utes will continue to be without Boystyn Holt (season-ending injury) and Dusan Mahorcic who was suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules just before the game against the Huskies. The Utes will have to figure out how to cope in his absence especially since he had previously provided a spark for the Utes. The Utes enter the game with an 8-14 record overall and 1-11 in conference play. The Utes have had a few winnable games in this recent 10 game losing streak but this is definitely a must-win as Oregon State is the only other team in the conference with only 1 win in conference play. Oregon State enters this game with a 3-15 record overall and 1-7 in conference play. The Beavers are coming off a 78-56 loss at Oregon Saturday night. Jarod Lucas leads the Beavers with 13.8 points per game. Oregon State’s last win came December 30, 2021, at home to the Utes 88-76 (game 1 of the Utes current 10 game losing streak). The Utes have yet to win in 2022 but here’s to ending the losing steak Thursday night, let’s go Utes!

When: Thursday, February 3rd, 2022 at 7 pm MT

Where: Jon M. Huntsman Center (Salt Lake City, UT)

How to Watch: ESPNU

First Half

16:00- Oregon State leads 8-6 at the first official timeout of the game. Balanced attack from the Utes so far as 3 different players have scored. If you have been following the Running Utes this year you’ll know that turnovers have been our downfall and early in this game Utah with 0 turnovers compared to 2 for the Beavers; let’s keep that stat line going. You know it’s depressing when ESPNU’s coverage is focused on quotes about wanting to win being more important than winning; yikes.

11:00- Back and forth game as each team is showing their offensive prowess early. Oregon State leads 20-19. Last time these two teams met in Corvallis the Beavers couldn’t miss and they are shooting 60% from 3 point range on some tough looks. Another key stat to watch is rebounding, Silva is a big presence for the Beavers inside and he has already come up with a few key offensive rebounds. Carlson was called for a flop warning going against Silva so it’s important for Carlson to get physical with him if the Utes are going to win the rebounding battle.

9:00- WOW- The Utes offense came to play tonight as the Utes are shooting 61.1% from the field and 54.5% from 3 point range with 6 3’s already in this game. The Beavers have cooled in the last few minutes which has allowed Utah to build a 28-20 lead.

8:00- The Utes lead 31-23 and now have 7 3’s in the game. To this point, we’ve seen solid individual offensive performances by certain players on a given night but early in this game it’s been a really balanced attack and it feels as though any player is capable of going off tonight. Love the firepower early, let’s go Utes!

4:00- What a defensive effort from the Utes and they are capitalizing with some hot shooting in the first half. The Utes have 9 3’s in the first half and extend their lead to 41-28. Turnovers have been our downfall in this 10 game losing streak but tonight the Utes have forced 9 turnovers from the Beavers as they are flying all over the place on defense. The Utes have been outrebounded 15-7 in the first half but the Beavers have been held at bay thanks to the Utah defense. We need to close out the first half strong and carry this momentum into the locker room.

0:00- Great first half for the Utes and Utah leads 46-33 at halftime!!! Oregon State had closed the gap to within 10 but David Jenkins Jr. was fouled on a 3 point attempt with under 10 seconds left and hits all 3 and the Beavers can’t get off a shot to end the half. The Utes shot 53.1% from the field and 50% from 3 point range with 9 3’s in the first half. Lazar Stefanovic leads all scorers with 12 points and Maurice Calloo leads the Beavers with 8 points. The Beavers have turned the ball over 9 times compared to only 2 for the Utes which is something we must continue in the second half if we are going to hang on for the victory. The Utes need to close the gap in rebounding if they are going to see this game out as the Beavers have 20 rebounds to 13 for the Utes. Overall a great offensive effort from the Utes and a solid defensive effort as they have frustrated the Beavers after they initially started well. Let’s keep this going Utah and end this 10 game losing streak!!

Second Half

15:00- The Utes start out the second half well as they lead the Beavers 52-40. A worrying sign early in the second half as moments ago Stefanovic goes up for a rebound and lands awkwardly but was able to run off a slight limp and seems okay to continue. The Utes have done an excellent job keeping Jarod Lucas quiet tonight as he has only 6 points. Great to see Stefanovic staying in the game after the timeout.

12:00- The Utes lead 53-45 but the Beavers are making a run after a big 3 from Jarod Lucas. The Utes have definitely cooled off in the second half as they are shooting under 50% for both field goals and 3 point attempts. The Utes really need to respond; this has been a critical time of the game for the Utes during this 10 game losing streak.

10:00- Just like that the Utes respond with a flurry of haymakers as the Utes lead 63-45. Riley Battin hits back-to-back 3’s after the Utes tighten up on defense. The 12-minute mark has been a critical turning point for the Utes lately and this is certainly a promising sign. Don’t let up Utes, let it fly!

7:00- Great series of events right before the official timeout as the Utes end up with 3 straight offensive rebounds before getting fouled to force the timeout. The Utes have their largest lead 68-47. Stefanovic with his first points of the second half and it’s a big 3 to continue to extend the Ute’s lead. We now have 7 minutes to close this out and get our first win since December 21, 2021.

4:00- Under 4 minutes to go and the Utes have extended their lead to 75-50. The Utes now have 13 3 pointers on the night and have now outrebounded the Beavers 36-30 after a terrific effort in the second half. The Utes also have only 4 turnovers on the night in their most complete performance this season. The Utes are playing with a lot of heart and desire tonight and are clearly determined to end this losing streak.

Final Thoughts

UTAH WINS!!!! UTAH WINS!!!!! UTAH WINS!!!!! Complete performance from the Utes as they run all over the Beavers 84-59. Lazar Stefanovic led all scorers with 15 points and Silva led the Beavers with 12 points. The Utes had 15 3 pointers on the night and shot 46% from the field and 42.9% from 3 point range. The Utes had only 5 turnovers on the night (turnovers had previously killed the Utes during their losing streak) compared to 12 for the Beavers. The Utes also outrebounded the Beavers 39-32 after trailing by 7 at the half. The ball movement was excellent from the Utes and they had 5 players in double figures on the night. It was a complete team performance and a win the Utes desperately needed. This is the Utes first win since December 21, 2021. This team has had some great performances against quality opponents during this losing streak and it’s great to see Craig Smith’s team play so well throughout this game tonight. Hopefully, the Utes can use this as a springboard for the remainder of the season.

Next Up: Utah Running Utes vs Oregon Ducks on Saturday, February 5 at 6:30 pm MT on FS1