No. 22 Utah fought off two second half rallies by No. 9 Arizona to pull off a 70-64 victory and give the Utes their first win over the Wildcats since the two faced off in the Elite Eight of the 1998 NCAA Tournament. Senior guard Brandon Taylor led Utah with 19 points and had four three-pointers, while star center Jakob Poeltl went toe-to-toe with Arizona big man Kaleb Tarczewski and had 14 points and 10 rebounds.
In the first half, it looked like Arizona just had the wind taken out of its sails following a loss to Colorado earlier this week. Utah led 40-29 at halftime, so an upset seemed all but inevitable.
Except, Arizona opened the second half with a bang and had runs of 12-0 and 8-0, respectively, with star freshman guard Allonzo Trier leading with 23 points.
But if there’s one thing Utah was today, it was clutch. The Utes’ strong on-ball defense forced only 10 turnovers and made the usually fast-paced Wildcats slow their pace. As a result, Arizona was just 4 of 17 from three-point range and can now look forward to a tumble down the rankings come Monday. This team is out of the Pac-12 seasonal crown race for sure, while Utah moves into a tie with Oregon for first place in the conference.
Arizona will look to right the ship against Cal next week as it looks to close out the regular season on a high note, while Utah ends its regular season against Colorado in a week.
*Featured Photo (above) credit to USA Today Sports