The Griz showed some heart after falling behind by 20 points in the second half on Wednesday at Utah, clawing back to within six points before dropping the 80-71 decision.
Star of the game: Will Cherry. The sophomore point guard scored a career-best 21 points and made all four of his attempts from the free-throw line, where he has struggled.
Reasons for optimism:
1. Derek Selvig. The 7-foot junior scored 14 points and keyed the Grizzlies’ second-half surge. Selvig is a heady player who often focuses on setting up his teammates first, but the Griz need him to average in double figures in scoring if they’re going to contend in the Big Sky.
2. Kareem Jamar. The true freshman was one rebound shy of a double-double in just his second Division I game. He finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, and led the team in assists with four.
3. Rebounding. The Griz owned a 36-34 edge on the boards against the taller, more athletic Utes.
Reasons for pessimism:
1. Fouls. Will Cherry and center Brian Qvale both missed considerable time due to foul trouble. The Griz had 25 fouls as a team and sent the Utes to the line 36 times.
2. Bench play. Unlike last Saturday when the bench kept the Griz in the game in the first half, this time six bench players managed just nine points.
3. Turnovers: With Cherry missing 10 minutes of the first half, the Griz had 10 turnovers to help the Utes build their 41-30 cushion at the break.