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3 Keys to Utah’s 4th Straight Pac-12 Loss, a 77-61 Setback to Washington State

Utah Utes guard Lazar Stefanovic (20) drives against Washington State Cougars center Dishon Jackson (21) during the game at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Jan. 8, 2022. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

For the first time since they joined the Pac-12 in 2011, the Utah Runnin’ Utes have been swept at home by the Washington schools.

They dropped a 77-61 decision to Washington State on Saturday afternoon at the Huntsman Center, two days after losing 74-68 to Washington.

Here are 3 keys to the Utah’s loss to the Cougars.

• Trailing by 10 at halftime after playing miserably on defense in the first half, the Runnin’ Utes fell behind by as many as 19 in the second half before making a couple small rallies. They could get no closer than eight, however, and lost their fourth straight game.

• Utah center Branden Carlson missed the game due to appendicitis, and the Utes struggled to replace him inside. Utah was outrebounded 39-33 and outscored 28-18 in the paint.

• Washington State went 7 of 11 from 3-point range in the first half to take a 40-30 lead at the break. The Cougars killed the Utes on the pick and roll in the first 20 minutes as well, as four-star recruit Mouhamed Gueye had 11 in the first half. Utah’s pick-and-roll defense in the second half was much better, but the Cougars stayed hot from deep and finished with 12 3-pointers.

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