In the end, it was Brooks and the Oregon Ducks (17-2, 8-0 Pac-12) taking down the Utes (14-6, 5-3 Pac-12) 73-67 in front of rowdy crowd in the Huntsman Center.
By Scott Funk (Twitter: @ScottFunk0)
SALT LAKE CITY—Dillon Brooks and David Collette. Two names we all thought we would be thinking about-not talking about during the game at the John M. Huntsman Center Thursday night. In the end, it was Brooks and the Oregon Ducks (17-2, 8-0 Pac-12) taking down the Utes (14-6, 5-3 Pac-12) 73-67 in front of rowdy crowd in the Huntsman Center.
With 10 minutes before tip-off the starting line-ups were revealed, and to most everyone’s surprise, we saw both Dillon Brooks and David Collette in the starting line-up.
Both Brooks and Collette have missed games due to injury; Brooks with an injured foot, and Collette with a concussion. However, both came out to play like nothing had ever happened.
Even with the return of Collette, the downfall for the Utes tonight was their inability to score the ball and produce the same amount of energy we saw last week in Washington.
“We just didn’t do a good job offensively,” said forward Kyle Kuzma. “We stood around a lot of times and waited until there were ten or eight seconds or less, and we had to make a play. We were just really stagnant, honestly.”
Devon Daniels, a player who was come as a huge surprise to many Utes fans this season, also didn’t provide that spark that he has done in past games.
“I just didn’t have the right mindset,” says Daniels. “I got in the lane and I was trying to pass when I could have finished sometimes…I’ve got to go in with a plan, and I didn’t do that well enough.”
Utah played stout defense in the beginning forcing a turnover on the opening play of the game, followed up by a strong finish for Collette to open the scoring.
The Ducks quickly responded before Utah went on an 8-0 run to get the Huntsman center crowd involved in the game.
The entire first half was close the whole way. At times the game became comical as “controversial calls”, to say the least, led to the entire Huntsman Center crowd cheering chants in sync to give the refs encouragement.
Utah went into the half down 2 with a score of 33-31, and came out of the gates in the second half slow putting themselves in a hole that they could never climb out of.
A remedy of turnovers and “stagnant offense” gave the Utes problems as the Ducks went on a 13-2 run in the middle of the second half to push their lead to 13.
The Utes continued to fight back, pulling within 5 with under a minute to play. But a missed lay-up by Collette, and a missed corner three by Van Dyke are ultimately what came to be the final missed opportunities for Utah to knock off the number ten ranked team in the Country.
“We just needed to make a couple of more plays, says Head Coach Larry Krystowiak. “We shot ourselves in the foot a number of different ways—turnovers, defense, giving up dunks, blowing pick-and-roll coverage, missed layups. I don’t think it needs a broad brush. If you’re playing the No. 10 team in the country, you’ve got to be better, and guys have to rise to the occasion. We can’t have 15 turnovers.”
Up next for the Utes is a home game against Oregon State (4-17, 0-8 Pac-12) on Saturday. Tip-off is 5:00 p.m. MDT.
Larry Krystkowiak Postgame Press Conference:
Kyle Kuzma, Devon Daniels Postgame Press Conference:
Utah asst. coach Tommy Connor on Radio Network Postgame Show:
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