Prior to Tuesday night’s first round NIT matchup, head coach Larry Krystkowiak mentioned there could be a sense of disappointment since the team did not make the NCAA Tournament. Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison, however, was eager to put his name on the map regardless of where he was playing. Hutchinson went off for 34 points in Boise State’s 73-68 win over the University of Utah men’s basketball team in the Huntsman Center on Tuesday night.
The Utes gave away an 11 point second half lead, and they also gave the ball away 16 times.
“I need to take a good look at what it is we’re doing,” Krystkowiak said. “We had really mindless [turnovers] today, there’s no reason why we gave it to them.”
Kyle Kuzma ended the night, and the year for that matter, as the Utes leading scorer with 21 points, and he also added nine rebounds. David Collette added 15 points, and Gabe Bealer chipped in with 10 points. Parker Van Dyke notably did not receive any playing time.
“We just let one slip,” Kuzma said. “We had a good opportunity coming out of the half and even with six minutes left. We just couldn’t stop [Hutchinson].”
The Utes used a couple of three-pointers to their advantage at the start of the game to take a 10-6 lead. Devon Daniels made a layup to extend Utah’s lead to six points, and the Utes soon had an eight point advantage.
The Broncos fired back six straight points to make it a single possession game, and soon enough it was a tie game, 16-16, about midway through the first half. Neither team could get anything going for the next few minutes, but Boise State eventually took its first lead of the game after Marcus Dickinson made a layup to give the Broncos a 21-20 lead.
A few minutes after that, Utah failed to box out on a Boise State free throw attempt, and as a result the Broncos got the putback plus the free throw to take a 24-22 lead. The Utes then went on a 7-0 run to energize the crowd, and by the end of the first half Utah had a 37-30 lead.
Bealer knocked down a couple a three-pointers at the start of the second half as the Utes worked their way to a 45-34 lead, however, this 11 point lead wouldn’t last for long as the Broncos began to chip away at it. Although Utah added a couple of more points to its total, Boise eventually made it a four point game, 47-43.
The Broncos continued to make the Utes pay for not boxing out, and the Broncos got within three points, 52-49. After a Dickinson layup, the Utes were hanging on to a one point lead, but with Kuzma leading the way Utah worked its way to a five point lead, 61-56. Boise State then rattled off five straight points to match Utah’s 61.
The Broncos went on to beat the Utes by five points, and in doing so they ended Utah’s 2016-17 campaign. Although Krystkowiak shoulders some of the blame for the loss, he doesn’t think his players necessarily deserved to win the game.
“You got to earn it,” Krystkowiak said. “I’ve always said I don’t have a problem if someone beats us, but I felt like we beat ourselves. Can’t be surprised when you look at what took place in the game.”