The University of Utah men’s basketball team lost at USC, 64-46, Saturday afternoon at the Galen Center, the completion of getting swept on the Pac-12′s Los Angeles road trip. Here are a few quick takeaways.
1. A year ago, this game would have been over early: The Utes were down 16 in the first half. A year ago, the game was over right there, but the Utes battled back to take a 1-point first-half lead. Much of the second half was nip-and-tuck, which also wasn’t the case on the road for the Utes last season, so if you want the current optimistic viewpoint, there it is.
2. Even still, Utah’s offense was too stagnant: A lot of the credit there goes to a long, athletic USC defense, especially at the rim. Conversely, Utah’s halfcourt sets yielded very little, resulting in lengthy second-half scoring droughts. At one point, the Utes went 6:36 without a field goal. Right behind that, they went 6:44 without a field goal. It’s tough to win a game that way, no matter how good your defense is.
3. Utah neutralized Evan Mobley: The Utes lost this game by 10 despite doing an excellent job on Evan Mobley, holding USC’s freshman sensation center to just three points. He did not score a point until a free throw with 15:53 to play in the second half and finished without a field goal attempt. That is largely due to Utah doubling down and making clean looks difficult. The Utes have fared well since last season against quality Pac-12 bigs, and Saturday was another example.
A few thoughts on Utah’s 64-46 loss to USC on Saturday afternoon /p>