Runnin' Utes season ends with 73-68 loss to Boise State in the NIT

Utes blow 11-point second half lead and fall in first round of the NIT

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) - After playing two straight years in the Big Dance, the Runnin' Utes had to settle for the little dance, the NIT, and they're not dancing very long.

Chandler Hutchison had a career-high 34 points, Marcus Dickinson scored 10 of his career-best 12 points in the final 12 minutes and Boise State overcame an 11-point second-half deficit to beat Utah 73-68 on Tuesday night in an opening-round game of the NIT.

The Broncos (20-11) trailed 61-56 before calling a timeout at the 6:33 mark of the second half and then proceeded to outscore the Utes 17-12 over the final 6:09 of the game. The Utes (20-12) went a stretch of six minutes without a bucket, while the Broncos took advantage of its offensive opportunities at the other end of the floor to take the lead and eventually win the game.

The Utes took a 37-30 lead into halftime after shooting 51.7 percent from the floor. The Broncos shot 44.8 percent, but were 0-for-8 from downtown.

Kyle Kuzma put the Utes up 14-6, but Boise State countered with a 15-6 run to take its first lead of the game with 5:37 left to play in the half. The Broncos would go up 24-22 following a three-point-play from Chandler Hutchison, but Utah managed to close out the final five minutes-plus on a 15-6 run of its own.

Both teams traded buckets to open the second half and Utah would go up by as many as 11 points with 17:39 left to play, but eight Utah turnovers led to 11 Boise State points in the second half.

"Boise State is a good team," said Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak. "They have been in a little bit of a similar situation that we were, with a lot of new faces and they lost a kid to the draft early. They have done a really good job. They have a lot of weapons. We were good in that basketball game for 32 minutes. It is kind of the story of our season with the turnovers."

The Broncos would chip away at the 11-point deficit and got back to within a point, down 57-56, before back-to-back buckets from Kuzma and senior Lorenzo Bonam pushed the Utah lead back to 61-56. The Broncos called their timeout and proceeded to go on the game-ending run.

"We just let one slip [away]," said Kuzma. "It felt like we had a good opportunity coming out of the half to open the gates and even in the last six minutes of the game. Boise deserves all the credit. They beat us. They made key plays and buckets down in the stretch. We just couldn't stop [Hutchinson].

Kuzma led the Utes with a team-high 21 points, while junior David Collette chipped in with 15 points. Collette added a season-high 11 rebounds to record his first-career double-double with the Utes.

Utah shot just 40 percent from the field in the second half to finish with shooting at a clip of 45.8 percent for the game. The Utes were just 9-of-16 (.563) from the charity stripe on the night.


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