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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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NCAA Tournament: Tucker thriving from the corner for the Utes



PORTLAND, Ore. — Former NBA player Ray Allen is widely regarded as one of the best shooters in the history of the league, but where Allen really made a name for himself was the corner three.

With a form that remained constant throughout his 18 years in the NBA, the three ball from the corner pocket became a work of art from Allen, with the shot seemingly finding the bottom of the net every time he let it loose. The surefire Hall of Famer helped revolutionize the game, making the corner three one of the most efficient shots in the game, and Utah’s Dakarai Tucker took notes.

Allen is Tucker’s favorite player, and that shows as the Utah guard-forward combo has laid claim to the corner spots whenever he is on the court for the Runnin’ Utes.

“I’m just mainly in the corner, so it just happens to be that I’m set up in the corner at all times,” Tucker said. “To me, I think the corner shot is the easiest.”

And he certainly made it look easy on Thursday night when Utah narrowly escaped Stephen F. Austin in Portland. Tucker only scored nine points in the game, but they all came from via the corner three, giving the Utes a necessary early advantage as the game came down to the closing seconds.

Tucker played a season-high 35 minutes against the Lumberjacks, as coach Larry Krystkowiak entrusted the junior to be on the court during pivotal moments of the contest.

“It was good, I just came in and did my job, did my role,” Tucker said. “It felt good to get out there and just run, I like running a lot. It just felt good being out there, helping contribute and doing my job, that’s what I like doing.”

Tucker may be under the impression that the offensive flow just finds him in the corner, but his teammates are looking for him to be in that spot a lot of the time. Point guard Brandon Taylor handles the ball more than anyone on this Utah team, save Delon Wright, and knows that when Tucker is open in the corner, there’s a good chance it will turn into three points for the Utes.

“That’s his favorite spot on the floor, he makes a living off the corner threes, yeah we look for him,” Taylor said. “I’m real confident if I pass him the ball, most of the time he’s gonna knock it down.”

Utah needed all nine of Tucker’s points against SFA, but it might need an even bigger night from the California native when the Utes take on Georgetown in the Round of 32. The Hoyas are the four-seed in the South region, and advanced with a 84-74 victory over Eastern Washington on Thursday.

Despite having just a day to prepare, Taylor — who had a below-average game on Thursday — claims that the Utes will be ready when they step on the Moda Center hardwood on Saturday evening.

“We feel good, I think its just positivity,” Taylor said. “Now, it’s on to the next game. That’s our biggest thing, it’s on to the next game. … I think that tomorrow will be a great game and me personally, I’ll be better for my team and we’ll be better as a team tomorrow.”

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