Men’s Hoops Trounced by ASU

The Utah men’s basketball team’s road woes continued in Phoenix Tuesday night, as the Utes (3-3) dropped to 0-2 on the road with a 71-62 loss to Arizona State (4 -2).

Utah followed its formula from the loss at Alabama, as it started the game turnover prone and with cold shooting from the field.

In the first half, Arizona State’s man-to-man pressure got to the Utes. Utah committed 13 turnovers in the first half, whereas the team came in averaging 15.5 a game. Point guard Travis Spivey was responsible for five of them.

Arizona State’s Chad Prewitt scored eight of his team’s first 14 points, attacking 6 foot-10 Ute center Chris Burgess, and the Sun Devils led 14-8.

It didn’t help that Britton Johnsen, good for 11.8 points and 4.4 boards a game, hit the pine four minutes into the game with two fouls.

The Utes hung around at 19 15, but ASU’s Donnell Knight came off the bench and hit two threes. The lead then stood at 25-19, but it extended to 31-21 after a Prewitt layup.

Just before the half, ASU forward Tommy Smith rebounded a Prewitt miss on the front end of a one-and one. Smith hit the put-back and the Sun Devils went into the half ahead 39-27, their biggest lead of the game to that point.

Burgess had 8 points at the break, but the 3-ball was not falling. Utah shot just 2-11 from downtown.

Meanwhile, ASU shot 52 percent and out-rebounded Utah 17-11.

The Devils cooled off from the field in the second half, but Utah turnovers failed to equate that into much of a point swing. A baby hook by Smith extended the Devils’ lead to 45-29 in the second half.

Nick Jacobson’s trey cut the lead to 48-37, where it would linger until the final five minutes of the game.

Johnsen stuck a 3-pointer with 3:16 to go, cutting the Sun Devil lead to 56-50, but ASU regained control as shooting guard Curtis Millage netted two consecutive shots from the right baseline.

On the ensuing possession, Johnsen pump-faked his defender and drew the foul while throwing up a desperation heave. The ball wound its way around the iron before settling in the hoop. However, Johnsen failed to hit the free throw. The lead remained at six with 2:22 remaining.

The disappearing clock caused the Utes to foul, but the Sun Devils started hitting their free throws. The lead extended to 10 at 62-52 with 1:25 left. Utah kept fouling, but ASU nailed free throws en route to the 71-64 final.

Millage scored a game-high 18 points for ASU, going 10 13 from the free throw stripe.

Utah’s Burgess was aggressive underneath, scoring a team-high 17 on 8 11. Jacobson added 16 points and 6 rebounds, but Utah shot 6-21 from beyond the arc. The Utes coughed up the ball 21 times, which led to 23 Sun Devil points.

In the first game of the doubleheader at the Phoenix Suns’ America West Arena, No. 7 Arizona topped No. 5 Illinois 87-82.

The game was the Utes’ last out-of-state contest for over a month. Utah hosts Troy State Dec. 8 before traveling to Ogden, Utah to play Weber State Dec. 15.

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