Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Highlights from the Giaco/JimmyBall years, pt. 3

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

5.  at LSU (2009-10): LSU wasn't as good as the year before, when they won the SEC Championship. But they were out to avenge that team, which lost by 30 in Salt Lake. And this time they had the Utes at their place in Baton Rouge. Utah battled back from a 12-point second half deficit to take the lead for good off a Carlon Brown 3-pointer with 1:08 left. LSU missed its chance to tie with 5 seconds left, and David Foster secured the loose rebound under the LSU hoop. Utah 61, LSU 59.

4.  vs. #21 Illinois (2009-10): Fresh off a home loss to Seattle U. days earlier, the Utes were pitted against the ranked Illini in the Las Vegas Invitational at the Orleans Arena. Utah shot 24% in the first half and trailed at the break, 32-16. But they went on a tear in the second half (shooting 70%) and made it a close game for the final four minutes. Illinois missed a tie-breaking shot with five seconds left. Jay Watkins grabbed the rebound and just as he was about to toss up a desperation shot, he spied Shawn Glover sprinting down the court. Watkins connected on the pass and Glover hit a short glider for the photo-finish game-winner. Luka Drca led the Ute scoring with 16 points. Utah 60, Illinois 58.

3.  vs. #16 Gonzaga (2008-09): The Utes scored the first nine points and led the entire game. A 10-point Gonzaga run in the second half cut the lead to one with about six minutes left and it was a battle the rest of the way. Utah's last FG came at the 4:03 mark, but they converted all eight of their FT attempts from that point on. Luke Nevill had 15-8; Luka Drca had 14 with 7 assists. Fifteen of Utah's 20 FGs came off assists. Utah 66, Gonzaga 65. 

2.  vs. #11 Air Force (2006-07): No one could see this coming. Utah (5-12) shot 70.7% against a ranked Air Force team that boasted a 17-1 record coming into the game. Five Utes scored at least 13 points, and Utah held a comfortable lead nearly the entire game. Freshman David Foster logged three minutes and blocked two shots. This win was the high point of this season, in which Utah finished 11-19 and coachless. Utah 85, Air Force 79. 

1.  vs. San Diego State (2009 MWC Tournament): Even through this difficult era of Ute hoops, we still managed to win a Mountain West Conference championship. We shared the regular season title with BYU and San Diego State, in what was a very strong year for the league. This game was close throughout. The Aztecs hit three three-pointers in the final 26 seconds of play, but Utah countered by connecting on 5 of 6 free throws in that same span. Shawn Green had a clutch steal just before the buzzer to seal the win and the conference crown. Utah 52, San Diego State 50. 

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