The Runnin’ Utes couldn’t keep up with the No. 17 Arizona Wildcats in the final minutes of Thursday night’s game as Utah dropped its first Pac-12 road game 66-56.
With 5:59 remaining in the game, Utah was down three points, and not too long before it had been down 13. However, as Utah fought to keep pace with Arizona, the Wildcats proved to be too much to overpower.
Only two Utes finished scoring in double digits. David Collette had 13 points and four rebounds, and Devon Daniels had 12 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
The Utes struggled shooting from three point range, they were 19 percent from beyond the arc, and assistant coach DeMarlo Slocum doesn’t think his team was taking all bad shots, it just wasn’t their night.
“We got back into the game [in the second half], but when you shoot 4-of-21 from three [point range], it’s hard to win that way,” Slocum said on ESPN700.
The Utes got off to hot start following an opening game dunk from Kyle Kuzma, and about five minutes into the action the Utes held a 10-6 lead in Tucson. However, the Utes had a couple of opportunities for three point plays, both they ended up missing free throws to make Arizona pay for its fouls.
Thanks to a three from Kuzma, Utah extended its lead to five points, 15-10, with 13:40 left in the first half. Utah would then go into a scoring drought, and it could not find the basket for nearly seven minutes. Arizona then went on to take the lead, and in doing so got the crowd more involved in the game.
Utah had a difficult time boxing out, and a result the Wildcats scored 10 second chance points in the first 20 minutes. Arizona ended the half on a 25-12 run, and to top it all off, Parker Jackson-Cartwright nailed a long jump shot at the buzzer to give Arizona the 35-27 lead.
Arizona jumped out to a double digit lead about two minutes into the second half following a a basket and a three pointer to go up 40-29. Utah couldn’t do much to stop Arizona in its tracks, and the Wildcats continued to attack the basket and build their lead. At one point the Wildcats held a 13 point lead over the Runnin’ Utes.
Utah fought to keep the game competitive, and it made it a seven point game with about 13 minutes left. From then on the margin would stay around seven points with the Utes climbing within six points of Arizona’s lead.
Utah fell into another scoring drought, this one for about three and half minutes, failing to take advantage of Arizona’s misfires on the other end of the court. JoJo Zamora ended the drought with a jumper at the 6:38 mark, and he made it a five point game with Arizona leading 51-46. Zamora then assisted Collette for another two points, and it was a three point game.
Arizona hit a pair of free throws to push its lead to five points again, 53-48. Jayce Johnson soon fouled out for the Utes after going over the back for an offensive rebound. Shortly after that the Wildcats jumped out to a 10 point lead, 58-48, with 3:56 remaining in the game.
Kuzma hit a jumper, plus the subsequent free throw following a foul to make it a seven point game again, but Arizona had a steady handle on the game as Utah would drop its fourth game of the season.
Next up the Utes will face Arizona State on Saturday at 3 p.m.