Gonzaga's slide continued Wednesday night as the Bulldogs missed two shots in the closing seconds and fell to Utah 66-65 in Salt Lake City.
The Bulldogs have dropped three straight and four of five as they head into what could be their toughest matchup of the regular season. No. 14 Tennessee (8-2) will be looking to avenge an 83-74 defeat to GU five weeks ago in the Old Spice Classic championship when the Bulldogs visit Knoxville on Wednesday.The Vols have a 37-game home winning streak and they're 28-0 in non-conference home games under coach Bruce Pearl. UT's last home loss was in the final game of the 2005-06 season (Kentucky 80, UT 78).
GU-Utah game stories and Mark Few quotes below.
This won't be our normal day-after post because I wasn't at the game due to budget reasons. But we'll give you what we can.
First, the links. Game reports from the S-R correspondent (tried to get this posted last night, but technical difficulties prevented it), the Salt Lake Tribune and a sidebar here, and the Deseret News.
--Find the box score here.
--What seemed to come through the TV more than anything is that the Zags aren't playing with the same confidence level they had in Orlando or Pullman. Coach Mark Few touched on that in some of his post-game comments.
On the ending: "I thought we made a great play in our press (to force a turnover with 7 seconds left). I thought we did a good job down the stretch, which we really haven't done in the last couple of games, of making the right plays and getting the right shots. We got a shot and a directed tip. We're just not catching any breaks right now."
On GU's shooting (35.5 percent): "We're not making the tough, hard-earned ones. We need to toughen up in there and step up and make some shots, especially Josh (Heytvelt, who was 4 of 15 vs. Utah) and Austin (Daye, who is 9 of 29 in the last two games). They're taking a lot of them; they just not making them. There was still a couple we took a little too early where need to work a little harder because we can get that look anytime. Other than that, it's about stepping up and making them.
"We're getting layins, 4-, 6-footers, and the same 3s we were making earlier in the year. We just don't have that same confidence. We've been knocked down a couple of notches."
On assistant coach Ray Giacoletti (former Utah head coach): "He's done a phenomenal job for us -- defensively, recruiting wise. I don't have to tell you but all these players (for Utah) are basically his players. He's been a great addition."
(In fact, Giacoletti-recruited players scored all 66 of Utah's points and played all but 3 of the minutes. Those three minutes went to a pair of freshmen recruited by second-year coach Jim Boylen).
On getting some points of turnovers: "Our defense got us going, at least got our offense going. We're better when we start playing fast like that."