Corvallis, Ore. • After some heartbreaking losses at Oregon State in recent years, the Utes caught a break.
Utah held off a late rally that included three chances for the Beavers to either take the lead or tie in the final 11 seconds to earn a 66-64 win at Gill Coliseum on Sunday afternoon. Utah, which had lost four of the past five in Corvallis, swept its Oregon road trip to improve to 2-0 in Pac-12 play and 10-3 overall.
“It started to look a lot like last year again,” said Utes senior forward David Collette, referring to a 68-67 loss that ended with Oregon State’s Stephen Thompson scoring the deciding basket in the final 10 seconds. “It was about the same timing where they took the lead back with seven minutes left or so. It all started to come back again from last year, and we decided we weren’t going to let that happen.”
The Utes led by five points with less than 3 1/2 minutes left, but the Beavers put together a late charge. With the Utes leading by two points and less than 15 seconds remaining, the Beavers missed back-to-back 3-pointer — one by Alfred Hollins and one by Tres Tinkle — and an attempted tip-in by Thompson.
Even after those three misses, the Beavers (9-5, 1-1) maintained possession thanks to a jump ball call as players scrambled on the floor for a rebound. With the possession arrow in the Beavers’ favor, they were set to inbound with 1.4 seconds remaining.
But Ethan Thompson failed to hold his spot as he inbounded, and was called for traveling to turn the ball over to the Utes. The Utes threw a long inbound pass that ended up in the Beavers’ hands but ultimately proved harmless.
“It’s hard to win on the road,” Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “You’ve got a lot of things going against you, and our guys stuck together. We got down by [six] at that one stretch where we had a series of things go wrong. … On the road, you try to put yourself in a position where you can win the game at the end. You’re not going to count on blowing people out.”
The Utes, who came into the day ranked first in the Pac-12 in scoring defense, held the Beavers without a field goal for more than eight minutes after falling behind 53-47 with 11:24 remaining.
The Beavers shot 39 percent from the field in the second half. Thompson and Tinkle combined to score an average of slightly more than 35 points per game coming into the day, and were held to a combined 27 points on 8-of-23 shooting.
“I’ve known Stevie from high school,” Utah senior guard Justin Bibbins said. “I know how he can score late in games. It was essential to box-and-one so he doesn’t get great touches and easy baskets because he can shoot it with a hand in his face.”
Bibbins scored a game-high 18 points for the Utes. Kolbe Caldwell stepped in for Tyler Rawson, who played only seven minutes of the first half due to foul trouble, and made 3-for-3 from 3-point range in the first half to set a new career high with nine points.
The Utes made 10 first-half 3-pointers. Their only made 3-pointer in the second half came on a Parker Van Dyke 3 to give them a 55-53 lead with 9:43 left.