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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Home court advantage

By Cody Brunner

The U men’s basketball team went into Logan last night and faced off against one of the tougher opponents in college basketball. No, it wasn’t the Utah State, Aggies-it was the raucous Aggie crowd that proved to be too much for the Utes, causing communication problems that led to 12 first-half turnovers and a 60-57 defeat.

“This is one of the toughest places to play in the country,” U coach Ray Giacoletti said. “You can’t hear, so there’s no reason to yell. We knew what to do, but just couldn’t execute.”

Despite all of the mistakes, Utah still had a chance to win late, having possession of the ball with 41.1 seconds left and the score tied at 57. But an errant Ricky Johns jump shot in the lane opened the door for the Aggies with 10.1 seconds left and Utah State power forward Chaz Spicer hit an open three-pointer at the final second for the win.

“That was the first guy we wanted to shoot the ball at the end of the game,” U forward Shaun Green said. “We definitely didn’t want (Aggie guard) Jaycee Carroll to shoot it, but (Spicer) stepped up and hit a big shot.”

The Utes were able to contain Aggie star Jaycee Carroll the first half, holding him to merely seven points. But the junior found his rhythm in the second half, lighting up the scoreboard for 20 points to bring his game total to 27.

“It seemed like the harder the shot Carroll took, the more at ease he is with things,” Giacoletti said. “He just made big play after big play.”

Utah struggled early with the Aggies and the boisterous crowd, falling down 39-27 early in the second half. But the Utes regrouped midway through the period, using a stringent defense and a few outside shots from Green and Johnnie Bryant to work their way back into the game.

“We fought back in the second half and started playing our basketball-started dictating the tempo to them,” Green said. “We went too tentative in the first half and kind of found ourselves in a hole.”

Much of the second-half success can be credited to Utah center Luke Nevill. The 7-foot-1 Aussie used his significant size advantage to lead the Utes with 16 points on 8-of-10 shooting and eight rebounds. When Nevill wasn’t scoring, he was dishing out to Bryant and Green, picking up four assists as well.

Green and Bryant took advantage of Nevill’s kindness, finishing with 12 and 14 points, respectively. Green also led the team with nine boards.

“This was the first time for a lot of us to be in that kind of an atmosphere, that hostile of a crowd,” Green said. “But we just had too many turnovers.”

After the abysmal start, the Utes did take care of the ball reasonably well in the second half, only committing four turnovers.

“We were just a mess to start the game,” Giacoletti said. “I was proud of our effort and toughness coming back in the second half, but you can’t dig yourself that big of a hole in a place like this.”

The loss drops the Utes below .500 once again, which they will have to live with until they travel to Rhode Island this Saturday to take on the Rams.

Kim Peterson

Johnnie Bryant finds an open lane in Saturday’s win over Washington State.

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