Utes start, finish slow in loss to Stanford
If there was an award for most creative ways to lose a basketball game, this year's Runnin' Utes would win that award in a landslide. With 20 seconds left in the game and coming out of a timout, Utah was going to get a shot off. Who knows if it would have been a quality shot or not, but at least it was in their hands to decide the end of the game. Oh. Wait. They didn't even get a shot off? With that much time left, not one single look? Again? If there is one area that Utah still struggles in, it is late game situations. Utah's road struggles are often mentioned, but it's not that they struggle to play on the road; it's that they struggle to CLOSE on the road. To the Utes credit, they got a key road win vs a talented Cal team and earned a split on the Bay Area trip, something that all Ute fans would have glad accepted a couple days ago.
The Utes shot themselves in the foot in Palo Alto. Utah had 17 turnovers (14 from their starting lineup), 11 of which came in the first half and they were also out rebounded 28-23. The Utes shot 54% to Stanford's 49% and won the assists battle 15 to 10. The road struggles for Jordan Loveridge continued on Saturday as he shot just 3-8 and committed 3 turnovers. The road trip was pretty forgettable for Jordan as he went a combined 6-25 from the field and had 5 turnovers. The Utes will need to find the missing Loveridge if they plan on doing anything in the conference tournament. Delon Wright also struggled against Stanford by shooting 4-11 and committing 2 turnovers. Loveridge and Wright went 2-7 from beyond the arc, the Utes need them to step in a couple feet. Utah got a stellar game from Brandon Taylor who scored 14 points on 5-11 shooting. Taylor's 5 turnovers were killer for the Utes, and they'll need much cleaner play from their starting point guard moving forward. Jeremy Olsen stepped up big for Utah by scoring 12 points on 6-6 shooting. Chasson Randle was in beast mode for the Cardinal. Randle scored 22 points on 7-10 shooting, dished out 3 assists, had 3 steals, but did have 3 turnovers. Dwight Powell had 7 points on 3-8 shooting and grabbed 5 rebounds. The one player that I didn't have any confidence in had a huge game for Stanford. Such is life. Stefan Nastic, who normally does;t do a whole lot decided to play out of his mind by scoring 14 points on 6-6 shooting.
The Utes now prepare for the Pac-12 Tournament and await to see who wins out of Colorado and California. If the Buffs win, the Utes will face Oregon State and will avoid the Arizona bracket. If Cal wins, the Utes will face Washington at 12:30 pm on Wednesday and will be in Arizona's bracket. It's safe to say that Ute fans should be pulling for the Buffaloes.
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