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Utah basketball: Utes end season at NIT, lose late at Saint Mary’s

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The Utah Utes season has been filled with ups and downs. The Utes blew through their preseason -- but faltered in the regular season of the Pac-12.

They knocked off UCLA -- but got hammered by Arizona to end the season on a sour note. And on Tuesday, March 18 in the first round of the NIT Tournament Utah started hot -- but ultimately lost 70-58 at Saint Mary’s as the Gaels shot lights out to end the game.

The Utes end their season at 21-12 overall -- their best record in several years. Utah shot 53 percent from the field in the first half and led by as many as 13 points -- but the Saint Mary’s Gaels torched the Utes with 65 percent shooting in the second half.

This despite the Gaels losing their leading scorer, Stephen Holt, to foul trouble midway through the second half.

It mattered not to the Gaels, who in their cracker box of a gymnasium in the sleepy town of Moraga, Calif., were too much for the Utes down the stretch -- blowing a close game open by going on a 13-0 run to end the game.

Abother bugaboo for Utah in this game was turnovers. 21 to be exact -- which led to 22 Saint Mary’s points. Also, a lack of production from Pac-12 first team selection Delon Wright -- who had just 10 points when he averages 15 on the season -- was just too much for Utah to overcome, and sent the Utes to an early exit.

Jordan Loveridge led Utah with 16 points while Brandon Taylor chipped in with 14.

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