The One that Got Away

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The One that Got Away

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After a deflating loss to the No. 4 team in the country, the Runnin’ Utes had a hard time pinpointing what exactly led to their downfall.

The UCLA Bruins had 10 offensive boards in the game, and as a result they had 23 second chance points. One of those offensive rebounds and a three pointer that came along may have been that dagger in the closing seconds of Saturday afternoon’s matchup. However, the 23 points means that UCLA used each and every one of those offensive boards to its advantage — something the Utes could have had complete control of had they boxed out. However, it wasn’t just that.

Utah had a higher shooting percentage in both field goals. The Utes were 54.5 percent from the floor, and the Bruins shot 48.5 percent. From three point range Utah was 33.3 percent, and UCLA was 31 percent. Though, the Bruins hit a couple more from downtown. Five players finished scoring in double digits for the Utes, and five players finished scoring in double digits for the Bruins.

Most statistical categories were the same — it was a close loss after all with the final result being an 83-82 win for the visiting team. While a one point loss to one of the top teams in the country could provide a bright side, one where the Utes are eager to build off of their performance, it instead showcased that the Utes failed to do the little things.

Head coach Larry Krystkowiak noted that he needs his team to focus on every single detail, because in a game like this, that’s what it comes down to — details. More likely than not, the Utes may face a similar situation playing in the Pac-12.

“It’s a game of mistakes,” Krystkowiak said. “We were pretty darn solid defensively I thought all the way throughout. It’s a high power team — we know we’ve got transition to deal with, a bunch of threats, and at the end of the day when you look at the second chance points, we didn’t completely finish plays.”

Senior Lorenzo Bonam said that the team “most definitely let this one get away.” Frustration was apparent on his and Sedrick Barefield’s face at the postgame press conference.

“It was a one point game, so literally one mistake we take back and we can end up on top,” Barefield said. “We got to learn from those little things that we didn’t do.”

With a young team, it is more or less what most people would think of this seemingly up-and-coming squad. While a loss like this may motivate players to play more fiercely with a vengeance on their minds, playing angry should not be the default.

Prior to the game, the Utes had just come off a dominating performance against the then No. 25 USC Trojans. Utah handed them a 22 point loss, and it looked as if it was clicking on all fronts. After giving UCLA arguably one of its toughest fights all season long, Bonam mentioned he thought the team had been disrespected from the get-go. The senior believed this team could accomplish great things, and he thinks that no one was giving them any credit.

“They really underestimated us because we got a lot of freshman, a lot of new bodies,” Bonam said. “They really didn’t know the talent that we had, so now they’re starting to see and they’re starting to change their minds.”

The Utes probably won’t be overlooked anymore after their performances last week.  However, those little things may still persist, and the team can no longer push those things aside.

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@kbrenneisen