Utah’s 68-64 loss to No. 9 Arizona on Sunday afternoon contained a number of factors.
The Utes didn’t take care of the basketball. They didn’t shoot well in the first half. They missed a number of key free throws down the stretch. They lost the rebounding battle.
But following a rally that erased a 13-point deficit, Utah failed to do the one thing that could’ve led to a monstrous upset that would’ve resonated nationally.
They didn’t take the lead. And that’s why the Utes weren’t able to pull off the upset.
“Obviously, it would’ve meant a great deal,” senior center Jason Washburn said. “After coming off a big win over Arizona State, beating a nationally ranked team would’ve been huge. More importantly, we need to get these wins that keep evading us. We fought, our team fought till the very end. We got down big in the second half and we came back. We just came up short.”
There have been six attempts for Utah to win consecutive Pac-12 games. None of those six attempts has ended in victory for the Utes. On Sunday, Utah had three possessions when it could’ve taken a lead but came up short in all of them.
Utah’s bench proved to be a major boon, as the Utes received big performances from Glen Dean, Dakarai Tucker and Jeremy Olsen. But Brandon Taylor played perhaps his worst game as a starter, scoring 2 points and turning the ball over five times.
Fellow freshman Jordan Loveridge got into early foul trouble and had to sit out most of the first half. He never found a rhythm and scored just 5 points.
Yes, a number of factors led to Utah’s demise Sunday.
“They aren’t that far away,” Arizona coach Sean Miller said. “I don’t think any team in our conference looks forward to the trip to Utah. Everyone knows it’s going to be a tough battle.”
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