PORTLAND – The Runnin’ Utes took on Georgetown Saturday in the NCAA Tournament, and after a constant battle of back-and-forth Utah surged ahead in the final minutes to win 75-64. Utah is now bound for the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2005.
Georgetown, a No. 4 seed to Utah's No. 5, started with the momentum in Saturday's game, which they nurtured into a 10-point lead by about halfway through the first half before Utah answered back. Down 23-13 at 13:24 left in the first half, the Runnin Utes started off an impressive 11-0 run that began with a jump shot by Dallin Bachynski and ended with an authoritative three-pointer from Brandon Taylor to make it 24-23 and give the Utes their first lead since 2-1.
L.J. Peak stopped the bleeding for Georgetown with an answering three to put the Hoyas back on top 26-24. Scoring slowed down in the back end of the first half, so much so that at one point the score was unchanged for more than two and a half minutes at 30-27 Hoyas' favor. Kyle Kuzma eventually hit a three for Utah to tie the game back up with 2:23 left in the first half.
A pair of fouls on the ensuing possessions netted two points per side, with Isaac Copeland going to the line for Georgetown and Bachynski sinking two for the Utes. Utah stood firm on defense after the foul shots, came away with a rebound, and held for the last shot--a frantic three-point attempt from Brandon Taylor that failed and left the game tied at 32 as halftime began.
Early in the second half, the Utes exploded on a 9-0 run, as Jordan Loveridge hit for three on an assist from Brandon Taylor, who went on to make two threes of his own to put Utah up 43-36. But the back-and-forth nature of the contest continued, as Georgetown closed the gap to 43-42, and then scoring stalled completely for just over four minutes.
A three-point shot from Jordan Loveridge, again assisted by Taylor, ended the drought and a layup from Bachynski a short time later put Utah up 48-42 with 10:36 left to play. Utah picked up another point on a foul shot from Bachynski, but then Georgetown embarked on a 7-0 run to tie things up again, this time at 49.
Utah jumped ahead, and Georgetown tied the game up a few times but otherwise trailed as time wound down to the final two minutes, with Utah leading 66-59 with 2:00 left to play. Consistent shooting from the foul line sealed the deal in the final minutes, as Georgetown's last attempts to close the distance via fouling failed and Utah won 75-64.
Utah shot 57.9 percent when it came to field goals and was 57.1 percent from three-point range. Brandon Taylor led the team with 14 points. Jackob Poeltl and Delon Wright both added 12 points.
The Utes will play next Thursday in Houston, and they will face the winner of the game between Duke and San Diego State--which takes place Sunday.