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Utah seeks elusive win at Arizona State


Utah heads this weekend to the state of Arizona, where it has not had much success, first taking on Arizona State in Tempe on Thursday night.

The Utes (11-2, 2-0 Pac-12) have not defeated the Sun Devils on the road since 2019, losing the last three games there.

Utah is winless in 11 straight games at Tucson against Arizona dating to 1986.

“It’s been a long, long, long, long time since we won at Arizona,” Utah coach Craig Smith said. “It’s been since 2019 since we’ve won at Arizona State. This has been a very difficult road trip for the Utes historically, and we’re going to have to play awfully well.”

Utah and Arizona State (8-5, 2-0) enter Thursday’s game unbeaten in conference play through the first weekend.

Utah swept Washington State and Washington at home, while Arizona State made two comebacks on the road against Stanford and California after trailing by double digits in the second half.

Utah forward Branden Carlson is the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week after scoring a career-high 34 points and seven assists in the Utes’ 95-90 win over Washington on Sunday.

It was Utah’s sixth consecutive win at home and seventh straight overall, with all of the games in Salt Lake City. The Utes started the streak with a victory over Hawaii at the Delta Center, home of the Utah Jazz, on Nov. 30.

Thursday’s game at Arizona State is only the second true road game of the season for the Utes. They won at Saint Mary’s on Nov. 27.

One of Utah’s victories during the winning streak was 73-69 over rival BYU, which defeated Arizona State 77-49 in Las Vegas on Nov. 23.

The Sun Devils had a three-game losing streak before the wins over Stanford and California.

Frankie Collins hit the go-ahead shot against Stanford in a 76-73 win Friday before scoring 25 to go with six steals in the 71-69 victory at Cal on Sunday.
Collins’ 3.2 steals per game ranks third in the country.

“He’s willing us to win,” Arizona State coach Bobby Hurley said. “He’s making winning plays at that position (point guard), and he’s doing whatever it takes, both ends of the floor.”

–Field Level Media

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