Utes suffer embarrassing loss to WSU
Pac-12 life has been extremely frustrating for the University of Utah. Being in the conference is a definite upgrade and a jump that no one regrets making, but wins have not come easy for the Utes in football or in basketball. It's one thing losing a close game to the Oregon Ducks or even the Washington Huskies, but to lose to a team that had recently scored just 25 points in an entire game is pretty embarrassing. Utah scheduled a slate of games in the non-conference portion of their season that catered to building team chemistry and confidence. Utah only left the walls of the Huntsman Center once and when they did, they lost. Critics of the fluffy non-conference schedule said this team wasn't prepared to win on the road or in a close game and so far that criticism is warranted.
Utah jumped out to an early 21-9 lead and it looked like they were facing their demons and overcoming their road problems. They missed a series of easy buckets down low while Washington State began to find themselves. What was once a 12-point first half lead was only a 5-point at the half. At that point, you knew the Utes were in for a dog fight. The Utes were shaky throughout the second half, but continued to hold the lead. The ball wasn't moving, Utah had shot-clock violations coming out of timeouts and missed opportunity were the death of the Utes on this night. Utah was led by Jordan Loveridge who dropped 15 points on just 3-11 shooting; Loveridge also grabbed 5 rebounds. Delon Wright also chipped in with 14 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals. Before the game, if someone said Washington State's two leading scorers would have 14 and 11 points I would have guaranteed a Utah win. Washington State won this game by only scoring 49 points. The leading scorers for the Cougars were Que Johnson and Dexter Kernich-Drew.
Close losses to good teams are now turning into close losses to bad teams.You could say this is the crossroads to Utah's season. Do the Utes spiral back down to the cellar of the Pac-12, or do they pick themselves off the floor and go win some ball games. Luckily for the Utes, they come back to Salt Lake and prepare to take on the USC Trojans on Thursday night. If there was ever a must win for Utah, this is the game.
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