Boise, Idaho • For Utah, the stage was set for the program to gain some national attention.
A hostile road environment. An NCAA Tournament team from last year that returned all five starters. The Utes handled all of that, and had the opportunity to defeat Boise State and stun the fans at Taco Bell Arena on Tuesday.
O Utah loses its first game of the season.
» Jordan Loveridge scores 19 points and grabs five rebounds.
» Utah misses three shots with a chance to tie in the final minute.
Boise State 69, Utah 67
Lenz 4-7 0-1 8, Loveridge 6-14 4-7 19, Onwas 0-1 0-0 0, Taylor 4-7 0-0 8, Wright 5-7 4-6 15, Van Dyke 1-4 0-0 2, Tucker 1-6 0-0 2, Ogbe 3-5 0-0 9, Bachynski 2-2 0-1 4, Olsen 0-0 0-0 0.
Totals 26-53 8-15 67.
BOISE ST. (7-0)
Watkins 4-6 0-0 8, Marks 7-16 3-4 17, Drmic 5-8 3-5 14, Elorriaga 1-1 4-6 7, Hadziomerovic 2-6 0-0 4, Thompson 4-11 5-5 13, Bropleh 0-1 0-0 0, Duncan 2-5 0-0 6.
Totals 25-54 15-20 69.
Halftime—Boise St. 32-25. 3-Point Goals—Utah 7-29 (Ogbe 3-5, Loveridge 3-9, Wright 1-3, Lenz 0-1, Taylor 0-3, Van Dyke 0-3, Tucker 0-5), Boise St. 4-14 (Duncan 2-5, Elorriaga 1-1, Drmic 1-3, Hadziomerovic 0-1, Bropleh 0-1, Marks 0-3). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Utah 28 (Wright 11), Boise St. 32 (Watkins 10). Assists—Utah 12 (Wright 7), Boise St. 6 (Bropleh 3). Total Fouls—Utah 15, Boise St. 17. A—7,151.
But missed free throws and bad execution in the final minute led to a 69-67 defeat before 7,151. It was a game that Utah could’ve won. But that hope ended with Jordan Loveridge’s half-court heave at the buzzer that fell short.
"This was a great college basketball game and an early season test for both teams," Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "I was really pleased how we responded with fire in the second half. We made mistakes in the first half, but at the end of the day, we accomplished a lot of things."
Utah had leads in both halves that it would squander. A Jordan Loveridge 3-pointer with a minute remaining gave the Utes their final advantage at 66-65. Needing a stop, however, Utah allowed Derrick Marks to penetrate the lane and hit a jumper that gave the Broncos an advantage they would never relinquish.
On the ensuing possession, freshman guard Kenneth Ogbe missed a jumper and Loveridge was called for an over-the-back foul. Marks missed a free throw and Delon Wright turned the ball over in transition.
Utah would never be able to get even from there. The loss means the Utes fall to 6-1 on the season. Still, in large stretches, Utah responded and showed resiliency under difficult circumstance.
"We felt like we should’ve won the game," Loveridge said. "We had some defensive breakdowns that we shouldn’t have. We worked all week on sending guys baseline and we didn’t execute the way we wanted to."
Utah missed seven free-throws on Tuesday night, many of them coming in clutch situations. The Utes also turned the ball over 12 times and went 7-for-29 from beyond the arc.
But Utah received standout performances from Loveridge and Wright. A junior guard, Wright scored 15 points, grabbed 11 rebounds, handed out seven assists and had four steals. Loveridge scored 16 of his 19 points after halftime and took over offensively for most of the second half.
"I probably can’t repeat what I said to him at the half," Krystkowiak said. "It would probably have a few beeps in it. But the bottom line is he settled for jumpers in the first half and then he sort of floated. I thought he was much more aggressive after halftime and that helped us a lot."
Marks — one of the better guards in the country - scored 17 points and had six rebounds to lead the Broncos, who move to 7-0 for the first time in school history. For the first time this season, Utah lost the rebounding battle (32-28).
Ogbe was a pleasant surprise, coming in deep off Krystkowiak’s bench and hitting a trio of threes.
He played because starting forward Princeton Onwas was ejected for throwing a flagrant elbow in the first half.
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