Utah got here again from 14 down within the remaining 10 minutes
Salt Lake Metropolis • Bobby Hurley was in classic type as Arizona State guard Marreon Jackson hung within the air to complete the game-winning layup. The notoriously demonstrative head coach spun round earlier than the play even completed, chest bumping his assistant coach Joel Justus.
The present of emotion wasn’t essentially uncommon for Hurley, whose model has made him the frequent goal of technical fouls. However on this occasion, the power the 52-year-old displayed was vital as a result of he felt his undermanned Arizona State crew had stolen a recreation it had no enterprise successful.
Earlier than that play, Utah had gone on a 14-1 run to tie the sport within the remaining six seconds. It felt like Utah had lastly damaged via and was about to seal a recreation towards an 11-16 crew. However as a substitute, Arizona State escaped 63-61. It was the newest heartbreaking shut loss for Utah in a season stuffed with them.
“It’s very powerful,” Utah ahead Marco Anthony stated. “I simply don’t assume we got here as able to play as we should always have.”
This was a very bruising loss, and never simply because it was Utah’s seventh defeat by six factors or fewer. And never simply because Utah allowed Jackson to get all the best way to the rim on the ultimate possession to have a straightforward game-winning layup.
As a substitute, it was tough as a result of this was a recreation Utah was alleged to take. Arizona State got here in with a shedding report and with out starter DJ Horne. Currently, Utah had began to win video games towards groups with shedding data — like Oregon State and Cal — however Saturday the crew reverted again to its type in January when it misplaced 10 straight.
For big components of the night, Utah settled for 3-pointers — the place it shot solely 26%. Utah had defensive breakdowns — permitting 4 gamers to attain in double-figures. If it weren’t for a full-court press within the remaining 5 minutes, Arizona State might need shot higher than 49%.
“That’s what we have been doing in early January,” Utah head coach Craig Smith stated. “We simply regarded completely different this weekend. Final weekend we have been actually powerful minded and actually linked. I’m not saying we weren’t that manner tonight however we weren’t for 20 minutes of the sport.”
The ultimate ten minutes masked a few of these points. Utah got here again from 14 right down to tie the sport on an Anthony dunk within the remaining 15 seconds. His 19 factors and Branden Carlson’s 15 factors have been practically sufficient for Utah to win.
However, the defensive breakdowns in the end got here again to hang-out Utah. On the ultimate possession, Jackson took three dribbles to his left to complete a layup uncontested on the rim.
Utah had a remaining likelihood to tie the sport, however Rollie Worster ran right into a sea of yellow jerseys and the time expired. Utah had a timeout left, however Smith elected to not take it.
“That’s one thing we’re taught,” Anthony stated when requested if he wished to take a timeout on the ultimate play. “If a crew makes a layup, their response is to have fun. We wish to run. However on the finish of the day, it doesn’t come right down to the final possession. You discuss concerning the center 20 minutes as the place we misplaced it.”
And people center 20 minutes shall be sticking with Utah for the following a number of weeks. This was the ultimate likelihood Utah must play a crew with a shedding report within the common season. It felt like Saturday evening was the chance for a rebuilding program to lastly present consistency.
Had Utah gained, it will have completed February 3-0 towards groups with a shedding report. It’s a far cry from January and December when it misplaced to a winless Oregon State. However rebuilds aren’t linear. And Saturday was the newest instance.
“If we play the best way we’re alleged to play, we’re most likely in a special scenario proper now,” Smith stated. “However we didn’t. There weren’t plenty of issues going proper for the Utes tonight. I’m pleased with the best way we responded. We gave ourselves an opportunity to win. However we didn’t.”