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Palo Alto, Calif. • The last shot wasn't even half bad, considering Utah had one second to run it. Kyle Kuzma threw up a prayer from near midcourt, hitting the backboard but not the rim.
It was on that shot that Utah fell, 70-68, in overtime at Stanford. But to a man, the Utes acknowledged it should never have come to such desperation.
In the first game of Pac-12 play, the Utes (11-3, 0-1) could not overcome a mountain of mistakes and missed opportunities. tah had 19 turnovers, shot only 11 for 24 from the free throw line and couldn't find a way to score when Stanford senior Rosco Allen scored the go-ahead basket with 1:32 remaining in the game.
"Obviously it's a disappointing loss," sophomore center Jakob Poeltl said. "It's a loss I think we shouldn't have had."
What bewildered the Utes was how the game slipped from their grasp with their most experienced players in the spotlight: Utah missed its final five free throws in regulation, and the final four were taken by seniors Jordan Loveridge and Brandon Taylor.
Even given a chance to put any other on the line, coach Larry Krystkowiak said, he'd still have taken those two. Loveridge entered the game having made 23 consecutive free throws and leading the conference in free throw percentage he was 0 for 4 on Friday night.
"I know they have confidence [in me], and I got to keep them having confidence," Loveridge said. "We shouldn't have been in overtime."
That sense of regret was magnified by how Utah did play well at times, highlighted by a stellar first-half effort on defense, when the Utes held Stanford to 24 percent shooting. Utah's size helped keep the Cardinal in check in the paint, and even the Utes' maligned 3-point defense was on point as Stanford only was 1 for 8 from deep.
But Utah struggled to capitalize on the moment: 10 first-half turnovers kept them from leading by more than 10 points, despite shooting twice as well as Stanford.
The rally came late in the second half, with Allen and freshman guard Marcus Sheffield at the forefront. Their combined 34 points came all after halftime, many on tough, slashing drives. It hurt that Utah's front court struggled to stay on the floor in a game where 50 combined fouls were called.
When Stanford tied it at 44 with 9:30 remaining, it was a tug-of-war the rest of the game.
Utah appeared that it might prevail anyway when a foul-plagued Poeltl revved up in the final four minutes: He scored on three straight possessions, including an old-fashioned 3-point play, while guiding Utah to a 63-59 lead in the final minute with a team-high 16 points.
But Utah lost its star center when he fouled out with 39 seconds left, perhaps the most crushing of the team's 25 team fouls. Utah did not score again in regulation, as Loveridge missed two free throws with 19 seconds left, then Taylor missed a pair with 1.8 seconds left.
By contrast, Allen notched four points on a reverse dunk and a bank shot off the glass with 13 seconds left, sending the game into overtime.
It was Allen who again had a two-fisted dunk to grab Stanford's first lead in overtime; Allen who hit a go-ahead jumper; Allen who notched a free throw for a little security with 58 seconds left.
The Utes didn't score after Kyle Kuzma's jumper with 1:50 remaining. A play starting with 7 seconds left ended with Lorenzo Bonam traveling Utah's final turnover of the night, and realistically putting Utah's hopes to bed.
Krystkowiak found it hard to pin the disappointment of Utah's third loss at Maples Pavilion in his tenure on any one player or moment. The free throws were hard to swallow. The turnovers were ugly. The fouls chopped the flow of the game.
It all added up.
"Earning a Pac-12 win on the road is hard," he said. "It takes something special. We didn't have it tonight."
R Utes miss final five free throw attempts in regulation in overtime loss.
• Stanford's Rosco Allen and Marcus Sheffield score a combined 34 points.
• Utah is minus-12 in turnover margin with 19 overall.