SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) -Utah men's basketball came up just short in its try at winning a third-straight at home this afternoon, falling 68-64 to No. 9 Arizona. After falling behind by as many as 13, the Utes responded to tie the score before eventually succumbing.
Jarred DuBois led Utah (11-14, 3-10) with 16 points, while Jason Washburn and Jeremy Olsen netted 15 and 12, respectively, in the setback. Washburn added seven rebounds and now stands only 26 points shy of 1,000. Olson matched his career-highs in points and rebounds, playing only 15 minutes off the bench.
The Utes, who were coming off a win over Arizona State, used a 12-2 run to erase a double-digit deficit and tie things coming down the stretch. Near the midway point of the second half, the Utes made their move, as Olsen scored twice inside to bookend three-pointers by Dakarai Tucker and DuBois. A tip-in by Washburn capped the rally for a 51-51 game with 7:28 to go.
Solomon Hill's only basket in the second half, was a big one as it stopped Utah's momentum and broke the deadlock with just over six minutes remaining. Mark Lyons converted a three-point play the next time down for some breathing room, and Arizona kept the hosts at bay from there.
Another three-pointer by Tucker pulled Utah within two with 4:46 left, but a putback by Kevin Parrom and a layup pushed the margin back to two possessions. Utah had its chances but Jordan Loveridge was off the mark on a three-pointer from the corner and after UA missed the front end of a 1- and-1, DuBois was smothered inside by the Wildcats as he drove to the hoop.
Utah came in as the conference's leader in defensive field goal percentage, but the Wildcats shot an efficient 50 percent (11-of-22) from the field in the first half, then made their first four shots after the break to build a 41-28 advantage, their largest of the game
Lyons scored a game-high 18 points but was forced into five turnovers by the harassing Ute defense. Brandon Ashley and Solomon Hill each chipped in 10 points for the Wildcats (21-4, 9-4 Pac-12), who were coming off consecutive losses.
In the first half, Utah only trailed 21-17 after a DuBois three-pointer but the Wildcats went on a 7-0 run to push the lead to double figures for the first time with a little over five minutes left in the period. Arizona took a 33-25 lead to the lockers after shooting 50 percent from the floor.
The Utes begin a three-game road swing this week with a trek to Colorado for a contest Thursday at 8 p.m.