Men's Basketball Drops Heartbreaker at Arizona State
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah men's basketball saw heartache late Monday afternoon as it fell to Arizona State 64-62 on a last-second shot from Jalen Graham inside Desert Financial Arena.
Utah jumped out to an early 7-4 lead at the first media timeout after Marco Anthony's 3-pointer was sandwiched by buckets from Riley Battin and Rollie Worster. Dusan Mahorcic made it a 9-4 lead after backing down his man on the near block before Arizona State closed within 11-10 with 11:53 left in the first frame.
The Runnin' Utes (8-10, 1-7 Pac-12) finally put an end to the ASU's 8-0 run thanks to a nice turnaround jumper from Worster before Lazar Stefanovic drained a three on the next possession. That lead, however, was short-lived as the Sun Devils answered with a quick 5-0 spurt that forced a Utah timeout with 5:43 left in the half down 22-18.
Utah headed into the locker room with a 28-26 lead courtesy of a David Jenkins Jr. 3-pointer at the buzzer to close out the final 3:11 of the half on 7-1 run.
Both teams exchanged baskets to start the half before an 8-0 run by the Sun Devils (6-9, 2-3 Pac-12) forced yet another Utah timeout (13:39) down 39-33. The Utes began to be more aggressive and slowly picked away at the ASU lead. Both Gach got the Runnin' Utes within 47-46 after completing the and-1 opportunity and cap off Utah's 9-4 run out of the 7:48 media timeout.
A back-and-forth battle then ensued between the two teams with the lead changing six different times on top of four ties. Following Worster's corner three, ASU tied things up at 53-53 on the next possession before Jenkins Jr. gave the Utes a 56-63 edge when he banked in a straightaway triple before the 3:46 media break.
The final three minutes came down to execution after the media break with Utah going just 2-of-5 from the field while Arizona State went 5-of-6 – including the game winner from Graham.
Jenkins Jr. led the way for Utah with 14 points while Worster added 13 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Mahorcic reached double-figures for the second-straight game and finished with 12 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
Utah returns home next week to entertain a pair of top-25 ranked opponents in #9/9 UCLA and #16/15 USC. The Runnin' Utes will first face the Bruins on Thursday, Jan. 20, with a 9 p.m. (MT) tip on FS1 before hosting the Trojans on Saturday, Jan. 22, at 4:30 p.m. on Pac-12 Networks. The Utah men's basketball program will also be honoring the late Wat Misaka that day with a jersey ceremony.
For the latest news and information on the Runnin' Utes men's basketball program, fans can stay connected online at www.UtahUtes.com and on social media by following @UtahMBB on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.