SALT LAKE CITY — It’s always been something for the Utah basketball team this season.
One game it’s too many turnovers. Another game it’s poor rebounding. Sometimes it’s bad starts. Still other times it’s weak finishes.
Against Arizona State on Wednesday night, it looked like free-throw shooting was going to be the Utes’ bugaboo.
The Utes, who came into the game No. 2 in the Pac-12 in free-throw shooting, had a dreadful stretch in the second half where they missed 6 of 10 free throws. In a close game that can make the difference between a win and a loss.
However, when it really counted, the Utes came through, sinking their final 10 free throws, including six in the final 32 seconds, to hold off the Sun Devils, 60-55.
“The key to the game is we made free throws,’’ coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “There was that stretch where we missed, but coming down the stretch the guys were dialed in.’’
Krystkowiak said on his pregame radio shot that his team had learned about every lesson it could this year and he didn’t think there were any left.
“We’ve got all these different areas that have been shooting us in the foot and I said I don’t think there’s any lessons we still can learn,'' he said. "Then as we’re missing free throws I’m thinking, ‘Oh my, don’t tell me this is going to be the one area that we’re talking about in the postgame.’’
He was talking about free throws afterward, but only in a positive way as the Utes went 10 for 10 down the stretch.
Utah had come into the game shooting 74.6 percent from the line on the year. Jarred DuBois was ranked first in league play at 92.9 percent and had missed just 3 of 42 in 11 league games. But he missed that many in a brief span in the second half when he clanked two with the 11:15 left and another at the 6:02 mark.
“They felt good. They just didn’t go in,’’ DuBois said. “Each free throw is different. Sometimes you just miss them.’’
However, DuBois sank the clinching free throws for the Utes with 11.5 seconds left to push a three-point lead to five.
The Utes were up by just one with 31 seconds left when freshman Brandon Taylor came to the line. His first shot was long and hit the back of the iron before going up in the air and dropping through the hoop.
“The people in the building actually gasped because they thought it missed,’’ said Krystkowiak. “We got a lucky bounce.’’
As far as he was concerned, it was about time.
“It’s such a fine line of getting some breaks and getting some bounces,’’ Krystkowiak said. “We were due to get some breaks.’’4 comments on this story
NO BROTHERS BATTLE: There was no battle of the Bachynski brothers Wednesday night as there was in the Utes' game in Tempe, Ariz., last month.
In that contest, older brother Jordan, who is a junior at Arizona State, got the better of his younger brother, Dallin, who is a sophomore at Utah. Jordan had 14 points and eight rebounds compared to two points and one rebound for Dallin.
In Wednesday night’s game, neither player was a factor. Jordan, who had a 22-point, 15-rebound performance against UCLA last month, was held scoreless until the 8:02 mark when he finally scored. That was his only basket of the game. He added three rebounds and three blocks.
As for Dallin, he didn’t even get in the game for just the third time all season.