The 13th ranked University of Utah Runnin’ Utes traveled to Kansas to take on the 10th ranked Jayhawks in a non-conference battle.
The Utes started out quickly with Delon Wright scoring the first two baskets of the game.and leading for the first 10 minutes of the game until Jamari Traylor made a jumper to put the Jayhawks up for the first time. At this point Kansas started to roll and the Utes turned cold on their shooting and started turning the ball over. Kansas led by as many as 20 in the first half. The Utes seemed to have lost their aggression and the Jayhawks seemed to have found theirs as the Utes would have a hard time getting a shot off until the shot clock had nearly run out.
The first half 23-2 run by the Jayhawks was the difference in the game. The Utes would never recover as the Jayhawks easily coasted. Delon finished the half with an impressive dunk but the Utes ended the half down 39-21. Delon Wight led Utah and Perry Ellis led Kansas each with 11 first half points. Utah played 11 different players in the first half trying to figure out a way to stop Kansas and put points on the board for Utah.
Larry Kryskowiak came up with a great game plan for the Utes in the second half. The biggest thing Utah changes was taking care of the ball. Their first turn over didn’t come until the under six minutes to go in the half. Delon Wright was brilliant running the offense from the point. The San Francisco Junior College tied up the game at 53-53 with 4:55 left in the game. Poeltl put the Utes back on top at the 4:34 mark with an inside post 55-53. Huge switch from the first half trailing 21 early in the second half to coming all the way back to have a chance at the end of the game.
With 2:33 left in the game Coach K called a time out with the game tied up at 55. Utah brought the shot clock down to a couple second but Delon Wright was unable to convert. Kansas on the other hand came down and scored and then forced a Utah turn over (the second of the half) with just over a minute to play. Kansas time out at with 1:05 left in the game. Kansas and Utah both missed easy shots and Delon Wright had to foul Jamari Traylor who converted both free throws with 37 seconds left. Dakarai Tucker nails a three with 23.5 to go to trail by one 58-59. Utah fouled Green with 20 seconds left and a one and one. Green makes both shots and Utah drives down and scores a two with about 15 seconds left and immediately fouls Green again who has make 15 straight free throws. Makes the first and second putting Kansas up 3 with 13 to play. Utah has a chance to tied the game at the buzzer but Jakob Poeltl’s shot doesn’t hit and the #10 Jayhawks win the game 63-60.
Kansas has four candidates in the Wooden Award running. Alexander, Ellis, Oubre Jr and Selden Jr. while Utah has Delon Wright.
Next up for Utah will be UNLV in Las Vegas at another “neutral” site.