LAS VEGAS — The fourth-ranked Arizona Wildcats will face in the Pac-12 tournament quarterfinals tomorrow at noon a Utah team that has won four of its last five games.
The Utes (21-10 overall) kept their slim NCAA tournament hopes alive with a 67-61 victory over Washington in front of a partisan Utah crowd at the MGM Grand Garden Arena today. Utah’s lone defeat in the last five games was a 67-63 overtime setback against Arizona in Salt Lake City on Feb. 19.
Dakarai Tucker’s three-pointer with 38 seconds remaining put the Utes up 63-60 over Washington. A Nigel Williams-Goss missed three-pointer was followed by two free throws by Brandon Taylor with 15.3 seconds left.
All that remained was a chance for Utah’s fans to celebrate a chance to face Arizona after losing twice in the regular season. The Wildcats also defeated Utah 65-56 at McKale Center on Jan. 26.
The Utes, who had an RPI rating of No. 80 entering the day, withstood a gritty second half from Washington, which is a potential NIT team at 17-15. It is the third consecutive season Lorenzo Romar’s team has failed to advance to the NCAA tournament.
Utah looked strong at halftime, leading 34-24, outrebounding the Huskies 23-14. But Washington’s Williams-Goss ignited the Huskies with 13 of his 15 points in the second half.
The Huskies took a 59-58 lead with 1:25 remaining on a three-point play by Desmond Simmons. Two Jordan Loveridge free throws put Utah up 60-59 with 1:18 remaining.
After Simmons made one of two free throws to tie the game at 60 with 1:08 left, Tucker made his pivotal three-pointer, his second of the game.
Loveridge led the Utes with 13 points and nine rebounds. Delon Wright led the Utes with 15 points, nine of which came at the free-throw line with a 9-for-11 performance from there.