Utes come up big when a big half is needed

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Last Friday night featured a loss to Sacramento State, which was already bad enough.

Wednesday night could've meant disaster for Utah.

A second straight home loss to an inferior opponent isn't exactly what Ute fans had in mind when the season started. And with a seven point deficit to Idaho State at halftime, that's exactly where things were headed.

But two things turned a 29-22 halftime score into a 67-46 win for Utah: Defense and transition.

The Utes clamped down on the Bengals, making it difficult for them to get a clean look at the basket. They forced turnovers and they converted on the fastbreak.

Mentally, the last 20 minutes could do wonders for Utah's confidence. The Utes looked tentative in the first half. They looked completely different after halftime.

"It was a big 20 minutes for us," junior point guard Glen Dean said. "It really showed the character of our team. That we weren't going to give up and that we were going to keep fighting. We had nothing to lose and everything to prove after halftime, and we played that way."

Tony Jones