National Basketball Association
Utah 70, Arizona 64
When: 2:00 PM ET, Saturday, February 27, 2016
Where: Jon M. Huntsman Center, Salt Lake City, Utah
# Dick Cartmell, # Randy McCall, # Brett Nansel
To have a chance to win its first Pac-12 title, Utah had to do something it had never done in the conference: Beat Arizona.
Point guard Brandon Taylor scored 19 points, including a key 3-pointer in the final minute, as the 22nd-ranked Utes stayed in the hunt for the league title with a 70-64 victory over No. 9 Arizona in Salt Lake City on Saturday.
"I was just going to take the open shot," Taylor said. "As soon as he slipped, I was going to take it."
Taylor hit 4 of 5 3-pointers and scored 14 points after halftime, helping his team finish on a 7-0 run in the final 2:37.
With Utah up 66-64, Taylor faked out Arizona guard Gabe York, who lost his balance and left Taylor open for a 3-pointer, which he made with 40 seconds remaining. York then missed a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession.
"Needless to say, I think that Brandon hit some clutch shots," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said.
Utah (23-7, 12-5 Pac-12) has won six consecutive games and ended a 12-game skid to Arizona. The Utes, who were 0-9 against the Wildcats since joining the conference, are second in the league behind 11-4 Oregon.
"Let's just sit here and savor the moment for a minute," Krystkowiak said at the open of his press conference. "This place was rocking."
Freshman guard Allonzo Trier had a team-high 23 points for Arizona but missed a potential game-tying 18-footer with 1:35 left.
"Allonzo had a couple of shots that almost went in for us," Arizona coach Sean Miller said. If they would have, we might have won. But he was an exceptional player today."
Center Jakob Poeltl had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Utah, often battling Arizona's Kaleb Tarczewski, who had nine points and 10 rebounds.
The Wildcats (22-7, 10-6) were swept on their road trip to Colorado and Utah.
"They play so well together," Miller said of Utah. "That's what you really admire about them, whether it's offense, defense, guys coming in off the bench knowing their role, they just have a tremendous team. My hat is taken off to these guys."
Arizona quickly overcame an 11-point halftime deficit with the help of a new lineup. Miller benched power forward Ryan Anderson (averaging a double-double) and point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright.
Freshman forward Chance Comanche, who had played in only six Pac-12 games, subbed into the frontcourt and helped spark the team by playing the first 6:35 of the half before Anderson returned to the court.
Comanche ended with four points and two rebounds in 11 minutes. Miller called the effort a "silver lining."
"I really gave Chance Comanche a well-deserved opportunity," Miller said. "And he took advantage of it. He gave us athleticism, length. He gave us more depth so we could play through foul trouble. I like how he looked."
The Wildcats took a 46-45 lead on a jumper by York with 14:18 to go to cap a 12-0 run.
Neither team led by more than four points the rest of the way until Taylor's 3-pointer in the final minute.
Utah led 40-29 at halftime thanks to its ability to get to the rim for easy shots. The Utes shot 60 percent (18 of 30) and had stretches of six consecutive makes and seven straight field goal attempts.
Poeltl had nine points and five rebounds in the half and put two fouls on Tarczewski at the 9:52 mark.
Arizona went scoreless for the final 2:30 of the half.
"It's not easy to say this, but this team at Arizona has a ceiling," Miller said. "I don't think we're a 16-2 team (in the league). You could point toward the three or four games that came down to the final play, but you have to be able to make those plays. Some teams can and some teams can't. We haven't been a team that really makes those plays very often, especially away from home.
"We're a team that looks really good in one half and maybe in the other, not as good. That has kind of been how we are since the onset."
NOTES: Utah billed the game as a Red-Out at Huntsman Center, and the Utes wore their road red uniforms while Arizona donned the home white. Students camped out overnight to get into the game, which tipped off at noon local time. ... Arizona entered the game with a 12-game winning streak against Utah, dating to a loss in the 1998 West regional final. ... Arizona PF Ryan Anderson entered the game with 14 double-doubles in 27 games. He finished with 11 points and eight rebounds. ... More than 20 NBA scouts were in attendance, likely focused on the battle between Utah C Jakob Poeltl (a likely top 10 selection) and Arizona C Kaleb Tarczewski.
Top Game Performances
Allonzo Trier 23
Brandon Taylor 19
Gabe York 3
Brekkott Chapman 3
Kaleb Tarczewski 10
Jakob Poeltl 10
Allonzo Trier 4
||Free Throws Made
Jakob Poeltl 2
Kadeem Allen 2
Brandon Taylor 5
Kaleb Tarczewski 3
Jakob Poeltl 3
Team Stats Summary