Utah basketball: Utes lose heartbreaker to No. 3 Arizona
Tucson, Ariz. • The shot looked good when it left the hands of Jarred DuBois. But instead of dropping softly through the net, it hit the front of the rim, caught the back and bounced high in the air. Finally, the ball fell to the McKale Center floor, as time ran out on Utah.
Simultaneously, 14,545 people exhaled.
The Utes pushed No. 3 Arizona, one of the best teams in the country, to the brink on Saturday afternoon. One made shot would've given Utah its best win of the Larry Krystkowiak era. Instead, it registers as another close defeat, a 60-57 gut-wrenching loss for the Utes, who are now putting a patent on coming up short.
"It certainly feels like a bit of dÃ©jÃ vu," Krystkowiak said.
In a two-game road trip through the Arizona schools, Utah lost both games by a total of four points. In six defeats this season, the Utes have lost five of them by a grand total of 16 points. They have proved to be one of the best defensive teams in the Pac-12 Conference, and they have given themselves a chance to win every game this season.
But they aren't making the plays needed to actually win the games against the good teams. And as Utah walked dejectedly to the locker room on Saturday, there was the feeling of letting another huge opportunity slip away.
"This is extremely frustrating," senior center Jason Washburn said. "We came so close the past two games. When our team plays well enough to win a game on the road against one of the top five teams in the country, there are no words for coming up short. This is just a frustrating feeling."
The Utes found themselves down by as many as 10 points in the second half. But a combination of making shots and stringing together a number of consecutive defensive stops allowed Utah to rally when it looked as if winning was impossible.
Washburn and freshman forward Jordan Loveridge carried the Utes offensively. Loveridge proved to be a matchup issue for the Arizona big men, either shooting over them or driving around them for easy layups. He finished with 17 points, four rebounds and two assists.
His effort was matched by Washburn, who followed his career game against Arizona State with another great performance. The native of Battle Creek, Mich., scored 15 of his 17 points in the second half, grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked two shots for good measure.
"Jordan Loveridge was one of the best players on the court today," Wildcats coach Sean Miller said. "He was the reason the game was as close as it was in the first half."
Utah had a chance to take the lead, a 3-pointer by DuBois that fell short. The opportunity to push it into overtime came up just short as well.
Arizona finds itself 14-0 in large part because Solomon Hill scored a game-high 19 points and grabbed six rebounds. He missed just one shot, made all three of his attempts from beyond the arc and came up with a play each time things began to look bleak for the Wildcats.
DuBois scored 12 points for the Utes, but went 2 of 10 from the field.
"I'm convinced we are going to start catching some breaks at some point," Krystkowiak said. "We just have to continue to bring it and some of those shots are going to start to drop for us."
Storylines Utes push Arizona to the brink
R Utah guard Jarred DuBois misses a shot to take the lead and a shot to send the game to overtime.
• The Utes fall to 0-2 in Pac-12 play.
• No. 3 Arizona improves to 14-0 overall.