LAS VEGAS (ABC4 Sports) – A frustrating and ultimately forgettable season has come to an end for the University of Utah men’s basketball team.
Despite 18 points from Marco Anthony, the Runnin’ Utes suffered a third loss this season to Washington, falling in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament in Las Vegas, 82-70.
Terrell Brown Jr. finished with 22 points and five assists, Jamal Bey scored 19 and Washington pulled away in the second half as the Utes end the season with a record of 11-20.
The Utes turned the ball over 16 times, compared to just five turnovers for the Huskies.
“We’ve had those stretches of games where we get the lead, and then there’s always at some point where it could come down to the catastrophic turnovers or just the mental lapses and stuff like that,” Anthony said. “Like so I guess you could say that kind of defined our season. But you could look at it as a lesson or you could look at it as a failure. And I believe that we learned a lot this year.”
Brown knocked down 9 of 19 shots and has scored in double figures in every game this season for the sixth-seeded Huskies (17-14). Bey was 3 of 6 from 3-point range.
Utah started the second half with a 7-4 run and tied things up at 44-44 on a basket by Branden Carlson. But Jamal Bey sank a 3-pointer to put Washington ahead at the 15:37 mark. The Huskies put together a 19-4 run thanks to a stretch where Utah committed seven turnovers in nine offensive possessions to go down 63-48 at the 9:30 mark.
“We just had some casual offensive possessions,” said Utah head coach Craig Smith said. “And that’s what they do. They’re very athletic, one through five. They can mismatch you. They can play very big with Roberts at the 5 and go do some small-ball stuff with Matthews at the 5. And they cover ground quickly.”
The double-digit lead for UW never dropped into the single-digits despite Utah cutting the lead down to 10 on three different occasions before closing the game out and securing the 3-0 sweep over the Utes this season.
Carlson finished with 14 points and six rebounds for teh Utes, while Gabe Madsen scored 12 on 4-of-9 shooting from 3-point range. Utah shot 48% overall, but just 35% from distance (6 of 17).
Washington had only five turnovers while forcing 16, outscoring the Utes 21-2 in points off turnovers.
Cole Bajema made three of four three-pointers and finished with 16 points off the bench for the Huskies. Washington led by as many as 15 points in the second half.
The Huskies advance to play No. 3 seed Southern Cal in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
For Utah, they can only look ahead to next season to try to improve.
“I don’t think there’s necessarily a specific thing that I’m taking away or I think our team is,” Carlson said. “I just think there’s a lot of things that we know we have to improve on. I think we have a long offseason now to work on that and continue to build our team to strengthen it, to build each other up to work on our games individually as well.”