Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Highlights from the Giaco/JimmyBall years, pt. 2

Nos. 15 to 11 | Nos. 10 to 6 | Nos. 5 to 1

10.  at New Mexico (2010-11): It seemed like the MWC had just passed us by -- a terrible feeling to have on the eve of joining the Pac-10. We only won six conference games that season. Remarkably, two of those wins came against New Mexico -- including this one in the Pit. Utah trailed by as many as 13 points, but somehow found itself with a chance to win with just 17 seconds left. They brought the ball up the court and promptly lost control of it. But Chris Hines managed to retain control just in time to hoist up a three-point attempt at the buzzer. It banked in. Utah 62, New Mexico 60.

9.  vs. Washington State (2006-07): Utah wasn't impressed with Washington State's 7-0 record coming into the game. The Utes never trailed and got a double-double performance out of Luke Nevill (16-12). But make no mistake: this was a very good Cougar team. They made it into the dance as a #3-seed and was a double-overtime loss to Vanderbilt away from making the sweet-sixteen. Utah 69, Washington State 55.

8.  vs. Utah State (2009-10): The Aggies brought in a kid named Jared Quayle who shot the lights out. He scored 20 points in the second half en route to a 27-point performance (5/7 from three, 6/6 from the line). The Utes came back from seven down with about eight minutes left; from that point on it was neck-and-neck until the finish. Luka Drca traded free throws with Quayle down the stretch and the Utes held off an Aggie team who finished the season with 27 wins. Carlon Brown led the Utah scoring with 22 points. Utah 68, Utah State 67.

7.  vs. BYU (2006 MWC Tournament): Despite his flaws, Ray Giacoletti did have a winning record against BYU. And who could forget the red sportscoat (the "Giac-et") he would always don for the occasion? By the time the 2005-06 season was winding down, it was clear BYU and Utah were headed in opposite directions. BYU was a bubble team for the NCAA tournament with 20 wins; Utah was fighting to get above .500. It was the quarterfinals of the MWC Tournament in Denver. Luke Nevill had a monster performance (29-14) and took control of the game down the stretch. Seven of his points came in the final 1:53, including a big jumper with 12 ticks left. Utah 74, BYU 70.

6.  vs. New Mexico (2008-09): With apologies to Sesame Street: One of these seasons is not like the others. This list is supposed to be about the best of the bad years. But 2008-09 was actually a good year in which we won the MWC (stay tuned) and got back to the big dance. We played some incredible conference games, but none quite as exciting as this one. Like most Utah-New Mexico basketball games over the last 5-or-so years, this one was an absolute dogfight. And I can still clearly picture Lawrence Borha's baseline jumper with 11 seconds left to win the game. What a freakin' stud. Utah 69, New Mexico 68.

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