SALT LAKE CITY (AP)On a night where nothing seemed to be going right on offense, Utah never threw in the towel. The Utes kept probing Washington’s zone and attacking weak spots.
Rylan Jones spearheaded the attack by getting to the free-throw line down the stretch.
Jones made eight free throws over the final 2 1/2 minutes – including the game-winners with 14.1 seconds left – to help Utah rally for a 67-66 victory over the Huskies on Thursday night. The freshman scored all 13 of his points over final 5:25 of the second half.
”There’s no give-up on our team,” Jones said. ”We’re a bunch of tough kids. We just want to play hard and win. We weren’t going to give up.”
Riley Battin scored 17 points to lead the Utes. Battin also drew a critical charge on Washington guard Jamal Bey with 0.8 seconds left to deny the Huskies a chance at a game-winning basket.
”I knew he probably didn’t have enough time to pass and get a shot, so I thought I could squeeze in there,” Battin said. ”Luckily, they called a charge.”
Timmy Allen added 13 points to help Utah snap a four-game losing streak. The Utes won despite shooting 34% from the field and not scoring a basket over the final 3:59. They went just 3 of 24 from 3-point range.
Jaden McDaniels scored 14 points to lead the Huskies. Isaiah Stewart added 13 points. Hameir Wright scored 12 points and collected nine rebounds for Washington. The Huskies shot 51% but committed 17 turnovers leading to 21 points for Utah.
The Utes trailed by as many as 12 in the second half and trimmed a seven-point deficit to one after Wright and McDaniels committed three fouls in 28 seconds. McDaniels had a costly technical foul in that sequence after striking Mikael Jantunen in the back of the head. Utah made six free throws – with four coming from Jones – to pull within 62-61 with 2:04 left.
Even though Utah didn’t take the lead at that point, the damage was already done.
”This one is hard to swallow because we had the game,” Washington coach Mike Hopkins said. ”You can’t have self-inflicted wounds. You can’t hit a guy on the side of the head. You can’t do those things and expect to win.”
Unlike their previous three Pac-12 road losses, the Utes didn’t let this one get away from them.
”We’ve had a funk with a number of guys here recently and it’s been pretty ugly trying to find an identity,” Utah coach Larry Kyrstkowiak said. ”I thought it was good for two or three guys tonight to be able to find a little rhythm.”
Utah attempted 32 free throws and made 24. The Utes went 13 of 14 from the line over the final 5:25. It didn’t sit well with Hopkins. Washington attempted just 14 free throws and made 11.
”I didn’t review any of the calls, but I’ve never seen anything like it in my life,” Hopkins said. ”I guess there’s a first for everything.”
The Huskies coach believed the free-throw disparity allowed Utah to climb back into a game that Washington controlled for nearly 40 minutes.
”The foul line changed the trajectory of the game,” Hopkins said.
CLEANING THE GLASS
Utah finished with a 38-29 advantage on the glass. Getting offensive boards proved to be the difference-maker. The Utes had an 18-5 advantage on offensive rebounds.
THE BIG PICTURE
Washington: The Huskies showed why they are one of the best defensive teams in the Pac-12. Utah rarely got any easy looks at the basket over 40 minutes. But an inability to take care of the ball doomed Washington.
Utah: An inability to generate any consistent offense caused the Utes trouble against other Pac-12 teams to this point. Utah endured four different stretches where it missed five or more shots in a row but overcame it late with clutch free-throw shooting.
Washington visits Colorado on Saturday
Utah hosts Washington State on Saturday
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