UTAH UTES

Utah Men’s Basketball Drops Triple OT Heartbreaker To No. 8 Arizona Wildcats

Feb 8, 2024, 9:03 PM | Updated: Feb 10, 2024, 2:28 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utes gave everything they had and more but could not survive a 105-99 triple-overtime marathon loss against visiting Arizona.

Utah (15-8, 6-6) hosted the No. 8 Arizona Wildcats (18-5, 9-3) at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Thursday, February 8.

RELATED: Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Week Seven Power Rankings

Four Utes reached double figures, led by Carlson’s 27-point, 15-rebound double-double. Deivon Smith added a triple-double with 11 points, 11 rebounds, and ten assists. Keba Keita was credited with two blocked shots but impacted several others, finishing the night with 18 points and seven rebounds in 35 minutes. Gabe Madsen made 5-of-10 threes for 17 points.

Former Ute Pelle Larrson matched Carlson’s 27 points, adding eight assists and seven rebounds in the winning effort. Caleb made just 5-of-20 shots but hit several big shots late to finish with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

First Half

The Utes kept pace with Arizona in the opening minutes thanks to good passing and a nice finish from Branden Carlson.

RELATED: Utes Take Control Of Colorado In Huntsman Win

Both teams made half their shots in the opening ten minutes, but three Utah turnovers allowed the Wildcats to take a 19-15 lead into the under-twelve-minute timeout.

Keba Keita ended a streak of six-straight misses for the Utes when he cut the deficit to 22-17 with a putback layup.

Arizona continued to increase its lead down the stretch as the Utes struggled to 32 percent shooting from the field and 2-of-10 from three in the first half. Craig Smith’s team missed nine of its final ten shots in the half.

The Wildcats took a 41-25 lead into the break.

Second Half

The Huntsman Center crowd tried to impact the game early in the half, but despite making three triples in the first four minutes of the half, Utah’s defense couldn’t string together stops against the eighth-ranked team in the country.

Utah cut the gap to 51-41 with 15:05 to play.

The Utes opened the half by hitting their first five three-point attempts, briefly reducing the deficit to double digits with a dunk from Carlsen.

RELATED: How Utah’s Basketball Teams Fare Heading Toward March

Minutes later, Gabe Madsen’s third three of the half sparked a 7-0 run that cut the Wildcats advantage to 63-59 with 8:59 left in the half.

Utah got within a point when Ben Carlson hit the seventh three of the second half.

 

Utah capitalized on a defensive stretch that held the Wildcats without a field goal for more than six minutes. With 4:38 left, Branden Carlson knocked down a mid-range jumper, giving Utah its first lead since midway through the first half.

Arizona responded, upping the intensity and taking the lead into the final two minutes.

Trailing 76-71, an out-of-bounds play set up a dunk for Keita, cutting the deficit to three. After forcing a miss on the other end, Deivon Smith found Madsen in transition for a game-tying three with 18.6 seconds remaining.

The Wildcats missed a three, and Carlson grabbed the board to force overtime.

Overtime

Hunter Erickson gave the Utes a 79-78 lead when he knocked down the ninth three of the second half. Utah then went scoreless for more than two minutes.

Carlson ended the drought when Smith found him in the paint for a bucket.

After a timeout, Keita blasted a blocked shot into the crowd as the Wildcats scrambled for a good look. Arizona couldn’t find the net with two looks, forcing them to foul after Utah got the rebound with 42.8 seconds left.

After Smith made one of two free throws to give the Utes a two-point lead, Caleb Love knocked down a quick floater to tie the game at 82 with 26.7 seconds left.

Both teams traded empty possessions in the final seconds to force a second OT.

Double Overtime

Back-to-back three-point possessions to open the second extra session gave Arizona a four-point lead, but the Utes responded with baskets from Carlson and Keita to tie the game at 88 with under three minutes to play.

After empty possessions for both teams in the final minute, a Wildcats three-point attempt rimmed out to force a third overtime.

Third Overtime

Arizona took a 95-93 lead after scoring interior buckets on back-to-back possessions to open the overtime number three.

The lead grew to seven before Arizona settled in with a 105-99 win.

Following The Utes With KSL Sports Zone

The Utes turn around to welcome the Arizona State Sun Devils at the Huntsman Center on Saturday, February 10. Tip-off is scheduled for 6 p.m. (MT).

You can find KSL Sports coverage of the University of Utah here.

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Brian Preece is a KSLsports.com insider covering the Utah State Aggies, Locals in MLB, and Salt Lake Bees. Follow Brian’s Bees, Beehive baseball, and Aggie athletics coverage here.

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