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Corvallis, Ore. • The Utes were handed the biggest mistake of the game, and given a chance to win.
Then they made the same mistake themselves.
With a one-point lead as regulation was expiring, senior guard Brandon Taylor fouled OSU freshman guard Stephen Thompson Jr. at halfcourt, giving the Beavers a second chance at life.
Thompson took it; he made all three free throws, giving Oregon State a 71-69 stunner of a win and knocking the Utes off a five-game winning streak. Thompson's 13 points capped a 10-point comeback and gave Utah (17-6, 6-4) perhaps its most painful loss of the year headed to a challenging match-up in Eugene on Sunday.
"We shot ourselves in the foot," he said. "Obviously, it was magnified by the last play."
The finish was made the more shocking by the way Utah took a 69-68 lead it gave right back. Senior forward Jarmal Reid fouled Utes forward Jordan Loveridge, putting him at the line with 2.2 seconds left. Loveridge made all three shots and seemed to have the Utes on course to win their fourth straight road contest.
As Thompson heaved up a prayer, Taylor put his hand in his path. The senior point guard almost immediately threw his hands behind his head in agony as the whistle came.
With one-tenth of a second left, the Utes couldn't manage a final shot themselves before time expired.
Krystkowiak acknowledge he had told his players to "keep our distance" before the foul, but he was upset that it even came to that point.
"We came down looking like we were point-shavers turning the ball over," Krystkowiak said. "We can't completely put this on Brandon. Brandon made the last error in the game. There were so many errors leading up to it, we just didn't look like a team that has their sights set on a championship."
The Utes squandered a 20-point, 9-rebound performance from Jakob Poeltl, who had his fourth straight game of 20-plus points. Kyle Kuzma added 17 points. Gary Payton II had 20 to lead the Beavers.
The Utes led by 10 with 7:44 remaining, but Oregon State began a rally when Poeltl picked up his fourth foul. The Beavers went on a 7-0 run, including scoring off a pair of Utah turnovers, closing the double-digit gap to a single possession.
Krystkowiak put Poeltl back in the game with four minutes left, and while the Utes still couldn't score, they slowed down the Beavers. Finally Stephen Thompson broke the drought for a 3-pointer, then scored again on a floater to give OSU a lead.
The next play was a turnover by Kuzma, as he threw it past a helpless Bonam. Payton tacked on a layup on the ensuing possession, giving Oregon State a 3-point lead. Taylor tied it with a 3-pointer, but Reid gave the Beavers a lead with 16 seconds left on a layup off the glass.
Heavily contributing to the comeback was 9 second-half turnovers, including some that seemed careless Krystkowiak called it "an out of body experience." Oregon State scored 14 points off Utah's turnovers in the game.
The game opened up with a barrage. While the Beavers hit over Utah's zone, and the Utes attacked Oregon State's defense in the paint, the result was the same: Neither team missed much.
The Utes attacked the paint with Poeltl and Kuzma Kuzma started a red-hot 6 for 7 with 12 points before 12 minutes had come off the clock - and found success around the rim.
But Utah had trouble finding the same success keeping Oregon State off the scoreboard: The Beavers hit 53.6 percent from the floor in the first half, including five 3-pointers, on the way to a 35-31 lead. A feisty defender himself, Payton was especially hard to guard going 4 for 4 from the field to start the game.
It was an ugly first half offensively for Utah's senior starters Taylor and Loveridge, who went 0 for 3 in the first half for zero combined points. Loveridge helped Utah build a lead in the second half with 3-pointers, the first of which pushed him past the 1,400-point mark for his career and into the 19th position on Utah's all-time scoring list.
Krystkowiak took his first-ever loss in his third head-to-head match-up with former teammate and Montana assistant Wayne Tinkle.
R Stephen Thompson Jr. hits three free throws at the buzzer to win it for Oregon State.
• Jakob Poeltl leads Utah with 20 points and 9 rebounds.
• Utah drops to 6-4 in Pac-12 ahead of Sunday's visit to league-leading Oregon.