LAS VEGAS — For most of the 2018-19 season, the Utah basketball team lived and died by the 3-point shot. When the Utes shot well from long range, they usually won. When they didn’t, they lost.
So when the Utes managed a paltry 8.7 percent on 2 of 23 from long range Thursday, there was little doubt what the outcome would be — a 12-point loss that likely ended the Utes’ season.
The Utes had come into the quarterfinal game against Oregon as the top 3-point shooting team in the Pac-12 Conference at 39.0 percent. They also attempted the most 3-pointers with 27 per game. During their late-season run that propelled them to a No. 3 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament, the Utes had shot particularly well, including 16-for-35 against Washington State, 11-for-27 against USC and 17 for-38 against UCLA.
Against Oregon, the Utes couldn’t find the hoop all night from long range. Parker Van Dyke, who was sixth in the league in 3-point shooting, went 0 for 7. Donnie Tillman, who was ninth in the conference, went 1 for 6. Sedrick Barefield, who ranked 14th in the league shot 1 for 9.
That’s 2 for 22 by Utah’s best three outside shooters. The only other miss was by freshman Both Gach.
“It was one of those games where the shots just weren’t going in,” said Tillman. “We had a number of great looks, but it just wasn’t falling.”16 comments on this story
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said, “We’ve been pretty dependent on the 3-point basket all season long, but 2 for 23 . . . a number of them were good looks. Oregon’s defense gets a lot of credit,it’s real physical.”
After going 1 for 10 from 3-point range in the second half, the Utes kept missing in the second half, one by Van Dyke in the opening minute, another by Barefield three minutes later. The six-point halftime lead, quickly evaporated the long tried just kept missing. Finally Barefield made one at the 6:03 mark, which cut the lead to 45-39, but the Utes could never get closer than four as the Utes missed four more threes.