In another overtime game that came down to the wire, the Utes finished on top and beat Washington on its home court in Seattle, 80-75.
Utah was able to make free throws down the stretch, something they struggled with in their loss to Stanford earlier this month. Poeltl was 6-of-6 in the last minute of overtime as he and the rest of the Utes were able to take down the top team in the Pac-12.
Poeltl finished the game with 29 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. Overall from the free throw line, he was 13-of-16.
“It feels great,” Poeltl said in a postgame interview with ESPN 700. “Today was an unbelievable game. They have an amazing crowd right here in this arena, and you really fight against them and their fans. I don’t even know what to say right now. It’s still sinking in.”
Head coach Larry Krystkowiak was proud his team was able to ignore the fans and push through to get a win.
“We just gutted it out,” Krystkowiak said in a postgame interview with ESPN 700. “We were comfortable in this environment, and this is a tough place to play. I mentioned to our guys before the game, ‘We’re going to walk into this arena, it’s a raucous, intimidating environment, and we got one of two things we can do. We can get caught up in it or we can stay really focused.'”
Lorenzo Bonam was next in line for the Utes productively, finishing with 12 points. The team was 41.4 percent from the floor and turned the ball over 12 times. Although the guards did not get many shots to fall, they held Washington’s Andrew Andrews to 17 points.
Washington opened up the game with two blocks and immediately got the crowd into it. The Utes then made a couple of mental mistakes, resulting in two early turnovers. Utah finally got on the board after going 0-of-7 to start the game when Kyle Kuzma knocked down a shot. Even with the early struggles, five minutes in it was a tie game at 4-4, and the score alternated between the two teams for the majority of the first half.
Utah was doing a good job of rebounding the ball and continued to get second chances after the Huskies failed to box out. The Utes were getting open threes, but hardly any were dropping, so they continued to attack the paint.
As Washington was hoping to go into the half with a two-point lead, Poeltl made his way down the court and was fouled with 0.3 seconds to tie the game at 26-26. Poeltl and Kuzma both had eight points at the half as the team was shooting 28.1 percent from the floor.
Utah went immediately to Poeltl in the second half, and he found an open layup. Jordan Loveridge got his first basket of the game, a three-pointer, to give the Utes a five-point lead. However, the Huskies were able to close in on Utah when Andrews hit a three-pointer to make it a one-point game.
Poeltl continued to be a strong point for the Utes, and when the Utes were running in transition, they were able to feed him the ball for easy points. Utah made a couple of turnovers, then Washington tied the game at 44 and eventually took the lead.
Utah went on a 9-0 run and and took a 57-52 lead, but Washington soon tied it up again with about five minutes to play.
Loveridge hit his third three-pointer to retake the lead for the Utes. Then Taylor hit another three to put the Utes up 63-59.
Utah soon went up by five points, but shortly after, Washington cut it to three. After some misses from Utah, Washington hit a clutch three-pointer to tie the game at 66-66. Taylor attempted to win the game for the Utes, but his shot circled out of the rim, and the game went into overtime.
Bonam attacked the basket and Washington was called for goaltending as the Utes scored the first points of the period with 3:15 left. Poeltl was able to find the basket, and again Washington was called for goaltending, giving Utah a four-point lead. Then the Huskies hit a three to bring themselves within one.
Bonam then drove to the hoop and got the basket to drop. Washington fouled after a missed three-pointer, and Loveridge hit a free throw for the Utes to go back up by four.
Taylor fouled Andrews on the other end of the court. Andrews knocked down both of his free throws, and after a failed box-out, Washington tied the game at 73.
Poeltl went to the line and made both free throws. After some back and forth play, wherein Washington nearly tied the game again and Kuzma made a free throw of his own, Poeltl went on to make four more free throws, sealing the deal for the Utes.
“It was a tremendous win for our program,” Krystkowiak said in the interview. “Really gutty to comeback after losing that momentum in regulation with that big three, and guys continue to impress me with being gutty and getting through it.”
The team now has a winning record in the Pac-12 and is 4-3 in conference play. The Utes will face Cal on Wednesday night in the Huntsman Center at 9 p.m. MST.