SALT LAKE CITY — Competitive for all but a five-minute stretch midway through the second half, the Arizona Wildcats didn’t have enough to prevent their sixth straight loss, 83-76 at Utah on Thursday.
Especially with Utah sharp-shooter Parker Van Dyke continuing his hot stretch, making 7 of 10 3-pointers after hitting a 25-foot buzzer beater to beat UCLA on Saturday. Van Dyke fell just two 3-pointers shy of the all-time record for 3s made against UA, set by BYU’s Jimmer Fredette in 2009-10.
Arizona led Utah 49-48 with 12 minutes left before the Utes went on an 18-2 run that put the game out of reach, while UA center Chase Jeter fouled out with 4:08 left to make matters worse.
The loss dropped the Wildcats to 14-11 overall and 5-7 in the Pac-12, heading into a Sunday game at Colorado, a winner over ASU on Wednesday. The Utes improved to 14-10 and 8-4, gaining just their second win over UA in 15 tries since joining the Pac-12 in 2011-12.
Dylan Smith had 16 points to lead Arizona in scoring, but missed all six 3-pointers he took. The Wildcats shot 45.2 percent, better than in their previous seven games, but struggled on the defensive end. UA allowed Utah to shoot 59 percent in the second half and 50 percent for the game.
The Utes pulled ahead 60-51 with 8:28 left when Van Dyke stepped back to hit his seventh 3-pointer of the night, and Utah then captured its first double-digit lead when Timmy Allen hit two free throws after a foul from UA’s Devonaire Doutrive.
The Utes later went ahead 66-51, on a 3-pointer from Sedrick Barefield, at which point UA coach Sean Miller inserted former walk-on Jake DesJardins and walk-on Matt Weyand. Jeter had four fouls at that point but it appeared Miller was also trying to shake up his defense, which began to play a 2-3 zone.
The Wildcats made a final push late in the game. A 3-pointer from Doutrive cut the Utes' lead to 76-70 with 27 seconds left, and a basket from Ryan Luther with 12 seconds left cut it to 79-74.
But Both Gach hit four free throws over the final 12 seconds to seal the game for the Utes.
In the first half, Arizona held Utah to 40 percent shooting while outrebounding the Utes 21-16 and taking a 32-31 halftime lead.
Arizona took early 3-0 and 6-3 leads after Utah missed its first three shots and had three turnovers in the first three and a half minutes, while the game remained within two possessions throughout the first 18 minutes of the first half.
Justin Coleman hit a 3 to give UA an 11-8 lead while Utah came back to lead by up to four points later in the half. But the Wildcats held a six-point lead heading into the final two minutes of the half after Ira Lee scored inside and Alex Barcello hit a 3-pointer with 2:06 left.
In what could be a good sign toward an eventual return, Arizona guard Brandon Williams went through pregame warmups. Williams has now missed four straight games since suffering pain in his previously injured right knee after UA’s trip to Los Angeles last month.