SALT LAKE CITY — Four minutes into the second half, Arizona State had committed seven fouls and Utah was in the bonus — free throws for every foul for the rest of the game.
There was a problem, though.
Utah couldn’t make its free throws down the stretch and Arizona State outpaced the Utes to claim a 98-87 win, snapping a three-game winning streak for the Utes.
Utah (14-11, 8-5) would finish the night shooting 64 percent for the charity stripe, missing a total of 13 of the team’s 36 free throw attempts. Instead, the team often exchanged one made free throw for a 2- or 3-point buckets on the other end for Arizona State (17-8, 8-5).
To compound the issue for the Utes, starters Sedrick Barefield and Jayce Johnson got in foul trouble early in the second half and sat on the bench for extended minutes with four fouls apiece. In that stretch, with Utah relying on its second or even third unit, Arizona State built up a lead to 16 — the largest of the game — and took advantage of the mismatch of personnel.
Utah would respond and cut Arizona State’s lead to as much as seven behind senior Parker Van Dyke’s team-leading 17 points off the bench. The bench outscored Arizona State 41-7, but failed to overcome the Arizona State starters, who reclaimed a double-digit lead and the win.
Arizona State’s Rob Edwards led his team with 28 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including 4-of-6 from three. He was joined in scores by Zylan Cheatham’s 24 points and 10 rebounds for the team’s only double-double, Luguentz Dort’s 17 points, and Remy Martin’s 16 points. Dort fouled out of the game with 4:44 left as part of the team’s 26 total fouls.
The Sun Devils used a hot-handed 3-point shooting in the first half to put distance on the Utes early, making eight of the team’s 10 total 3-pointers in the first half. Dort and Edwards each had three from deep and Remi Martin had two 3-pointers as the team shot 64 percent from three in the first half.
But Van Dyke wasn’t about to be outdone and made three 3-pointers of his own in the first half to cut Arizona State’s once 13-point lead down to five points. Barefield and Jones each added a 3-pointer to the mix to keep Utah within five points at the break. Utah would make only three of its next 11 attempts in the second half.
Barefield tied Van Dyke with 17 points to lead the team in scoring and also scored his 1,000th-career point on one of eight made free throws on the night. The senior guard, who shot only 4-of-13 from the field, was the only Ute to shoot 100 percent from the free throw line.
Freshman Timmy Allen was the only other Utah player to score in double figures on the night. He finished with 13 points and seven rebounds in a team-high 35 minutes of play.
The Utes shot the ball better than the Sun Devils from the floor in the first half, shooting 57 percent at the break despite starting the game shooting 25 percent from the field and allowing the Sun Devils to go on an early 11-0 run. The Sun Devils finished the half shooting 52 percent and hovered around that range for much of the game. Both teams finished the game shooting 54 percent from the field.
Though Utah was able to match Arizona State’s overall shooting percentage, the team was outrebounded 35-29 by the Sun Devils, which allowed the Sun Devils 18 second-chance points. Utah also had 13 turnovers — many of which were avoidable — that led to 15 points on the other end for Arizona State.
“I thought as silly as it sounds, the rebounding was such a big key,” Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “They had 18 second-chance points and then we shot ourselves in the foot where we had a stretch of mindless turnovers. I thought they played harder than we did, and that’s a shame.”
Utah will look to rebound on the road next week as they take on conference favorite Washington on Wednesday, Feb. 20 at 9 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcast on FS1 and ESPN 700.