Dallas • With a minute remaining Wednesday, nothing left to lose and Utah’s first road defeat of the season painfully assured, Larry Krystkowiak’s frustration finally spilled over.
The Utes head coach turned to an official during a play stoppage, looked at the scoreboard and calmly pointed out the key statistic in Utah’s 62-55 loss to SMU before 3,501 at Moody Coliseum.
“We still haven’t shot a free throw.”
On the next possession, Cedric Martin was fouled, finally ending a 21-0 disparity. The senior forward stepped to the line. He missed. It was that kind of night for the Utes.
In what was an eye-opener for Krystkowiak’s crew, the Mustangs were the tougher team, the more aggressive team and the more athletic team. Led by Hall of Fame coach Larry Brown, SMU took over with an 11-0 run to close out the first half, and were rarely challenged.
“We needed this kind of game,” Martin said. “This is what we’re going to see every night in the Pac-12. We weren’t good enough when it counted. We didn’t make enough plays, and we weren’t tough enough. We have to be tougher.”
Actually, the Utes were tough, at least defensively. Down 35-25 at halftime, Utah limited the Mustangs to four points on 2-of-16 shooting over the first eight minutes of the second half. That led to Jarred DuBois coming down and making a perimeter jumper to close the Utes within 39-38.
The issue? Utah was often anemic with the ball in its hands. And the 21-3 disparity at the foul line served to be the difference of the game.
“We stressed that we had to keep these guys off the line before the game,” Krystkowiak said. “But we didn’t stress enough that we actually had to get to the line ourselves. We were timid inside, and we didn’t play well enough. The good thing is that nothing isn’t something that can’t be fixed. We can address every problem that we have. So we’re going to go back, practice, stick together and get things fixed.”
DuBois, the senior transfer from Loyola Marymount, was Utah’s best offensive player and the only player who consistently made shots. He scored a game-high 25 points, handed out four assists, grabbed three rebounds and chided himself afterward for not “controlling the pace enough.”
Freshman Jordan Loveridge notched his second double-double of the season, scoring 10 points and grabbing 11 rebounds, though he shot 5 for 15 and struggled at times finishing at the rim.
Everyone else struggled. Glen Dean went 1 for 5 from the field. Aaron Dotson, in his season debut, turned the ball over four times in seven minutes. Dallin Bachynski grabbed nine rebounds, but shot 1 of 7 from the floor. And Jason Washburn failed to make an impact off the bench.
To make matters worse, SMU’s Jalen Jones came up with a huge game. His 20 points and 16 rebounds made a big dent on both ends of the floor.
“We got down by 13 and we came back and we made a game of it, but we let them go on runs in both halves,” DuBois said. “We showed a lot of fight, but we got down twice and couldn’t get out of it.”
The Utes fall to 4-2 on the season, after winning four consecutive games. With a day off on Thursday, Utah travels to Texas State on Friday night. SMU improves to 7-1 on the year. The two teams will meet again at the Huntsman Center in three weeks.
SMU 62, Utah 55
R Utah falls to 4-2 on the season with the loss to Larry Brown-coached SMU.
• Utah shoots just three free throws in the 40-minute game.
• SMU goes on a 7-0 run in the middle of the second half to break things open.
SMU 62, Utah 55
UTAH (4-2) • Loveridge 5-15 0-0 10, Bachynski 1-7 0-0 3, Dean 1-5 0-0 3, DuBois 9-13 2-2 25, Martin 3-5 0-1 8, Dotson 0-1 0-0 0, Seymour 0-2 0-0 0, Lenz 0-1 0-0 0, Taylor 1-3 0-0 2, Tucker 1-3 0-0 2, Washburn 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 22-57 2-3 55.
SMU (7-1) • Williams 3-9 3-4 10, Cunningham 2-8 4-6 8, Manuel 3-9 6-6 14, Russell 1-8 2-2 4, Jones 8-18 3-3 20, Giles 2-3 0-0 6, Bernardi 0-0 0-0 0, Dickerson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 19-56 18-21 62.
Halftime • SMU 35-25. 3-Point Goals • Utah 9-23 (DuBois 5-6, Martin 2-4, Bachynski 1-1, Dean 1-3, Dotson 0-1, Seymour 0-1, Tucker 0-2, Taylor 0-2, Loveridge 0-3), SMU 6-11 (Giles 2-3, Manuel 2-3, Jones 1-1, Williams 1-3, Russell 0-1). Fouled Out • None. Rebounds • Utah 37 (Loveridge 11), SMU 38 (Jones 16). Assists • Utah 15 (DuBois 4), SMU 11 (Russell 8). Total Fouls • Utah 18, SMU 14. Technical • Jones. A • 3,501.