Runnin' Utes Can't Contain Wildcats Thursday Night
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah men's basketball team never wavered in its fight against the No. 2 team in the country but eventually fell to #2/2 Arizona 97-77 Thursday night inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
The Runnin' Utes and the Wildcats had a wild start with Arizona jumping out to an 8-0 start that forced Utah to call a timeout 1:45 into the game. However, Utah answered right back out of the timeout with a 7-0 run that saw Branden Carlson sandwich a 3-pointer from Both Gach with a pair of jams.
The game then settled down a bit on both sides with Utah countering with a punch of their own each time the Wildcats went on a short spurt and trailed just 25-22 at the under-eight media break. After a bucket from Gach, Game Madsen drilled a transition three from the far wing to tie things up at 27-27 before Marco Anthony gave Utah (11-17, 4-14 Pac-12) a 28-27 lead.
However, that lead was short-lived as Arizona's Kerr Kriisa went unconscious from 3-point range and hit 7-of-9 from beyond the arc to put the Utes behind 53-33 at the break.
Arizona's (25-2, 15-1 Pac-12) offense continued where it left off in the first half and opened with a 9-0 run before taking a 67-40 edge at the first media timeout (15:58). Utah did it's best to slowly chip away at the Wildcat lead out of the 11:48 break and was able to get within 76-58 of UA after David Jenkins Jr. scored eight of Utah's next 10 points.
The Utes brought the deficit down to 19 twice after Arizona pushed it back up to 20-plus during a two-minute stretch before both benches were unloaded and Utah eventually falling 97-77.
Madsen finished with a team-high 15 points on 4-of-8 from 3-point range while Jenkins Jr. added 14 points with six rebounds and three assists off the bench. Gach pitched in with 13 points while Carlson added 10 points.
The Runnin' Utes close out the weekend hosting Arizona State Saturday night inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center at 8 p.m. (MT) on ESPNU with Dave Feldman and Adrian Branch once again on the call. The Utah women will once again kick off the double-header day welcoming in Oregon for a 1 p.m. (MT) tip-off.
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.