December 31, 2008 in Sports

Gonzaga falls to Utah, 66-65

Associated Press
 
Associated Press photo

Gonzaga guard Steven Gray, right, and Utah guard Luka Drka, left, look to chase down a loose ball during the first half.
(Full-size photo)

SALT LAKE CITY — Luke Nevill scored 15 points to help Utah beat No. 16 Gonzaga 66-65 on Wednesday night, sending the Bulldogs to their third straight loss for only the second time in the last eight years.

Trailing by one, Gonzaga had two chances to pull out the win in the final seconds when Matt Bouldin stole an inbounds pass. He missed a runner and Austin Daye couldn’t convert the rebound.

Nevill grabbed the rebound and secured the win as time expired.

The Utes scored their last field goal on Nevill’s hook shot with 4:03 remaining but made eight consecutive free throws down the stretch in front of a season-high 12,571 fans.

Luke Drca had 14 points and seven assists and Lawrence Bohra added 11 points for the Utes (8-6).

Jeremy Pargo and Steven Gray each scored 14 for the Bulldogs (8-4), who shot just 35 percent. They hadn’t lost three in a row since dropping four straight from Dec. 16, 2006-Jan. 3, 2007. That was Gonzaga’s first three-game losing streak since 2000.

Utah led by as many as 11 points midway through the second half when Drca made a 3-pointer to cap an 8-2 run.

Gonzaga scored the next 10 points to cut its deficit to 54-53 on Pargo’s layup.

The Bulldogs have been idle for eight days since losing back-to-back games to Oklahoma and Portland State and they looked rusty. The Utes ran out to a 14-2 lead while the Bulldogs missed seven of their first eight shots and turned the ball over once.

Gonzaga, which trailed 36-32 at the half, played Utah in Salt Lake City for the first time in 46 years. Utah won that meeting 100-79 on Dec. 8, 1962.

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