SALT LAKE CITY, UT – Despite blowing a 16-point halftime lead No. 8 Arizona Basketball (18-5, 9-3) survived in Triple Overtime against Utah (15-8, 6-6), winning 105-99.
From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, the game between No. 8 Arizona Basketball and Utah had Wildcat fans feeling all of the emotions.
In front of an energetic, but less-than-sold-out crowd on Thursday evening, Arizona jumped out to a dominating, 16-point halftime lead. But after a second-half surge by Utah, the Utes forced three overtimes before the Wildcats were able to come away with the 105-99 win.
Led by Pelle Larsson (the former Ute), the Swedish native scored a career-high 27 points, grabbed seven rebounds, and dished eight assists.
All five of Arizona's starters finished in double-figures as Caleb Love finished with 19 on paltry, 5-20 shooting, including 3-11 from three, meanwhile, Kylan Boswell added with 16 points and five assists.
The Wildcats' bench was a bit quieter in this one, scoring just 16 points as Jaden Bradley and KJ Lewis led that group with 9 and 7 points respectively.
Jumping out to a dominant, 16-point first-half lead, No. 8 Arizona Basketball was able to weather Utah's hot shooting to win in 3OT!
Looking to start the road trip off with a bang against a solid Utah team, Arizona Basketball would be in store for quite the fight in this one!
From the tip, things were quite close, especially as Utah and Arizona traded buckets over the first few minutes of the game. Luckily, Arizona was able to regain the lead at 15-13 after a three-pointer from Lewis.
But from there, the Wildcats would begin to find its groove, using a 12-4 run to push its lead to 10 after a pair of free-throws by Boswell made it 27-17.
Minutes later, Arizona answered with another 10-5 scoring surge as another pair of free throws (this time by Bradley) made it 37-22 in favor of the Cats with 1:25 to play in the first half.
Leading comfortably, Arizona would close out the half by outscoring Utah 4-3 to head into halftime with a convincing, 41-25 lead.
Unfortunately, it was a tale of two halves in this one. Despite leading by 16, Utah would start the second half a perfect, 7-7 from three as they cut Arizona's lead to 11, to 10, to 8, to 6, and eventually, 1 after Ben Carlson hit a three for the Utes to make it 63-62.
Arizona would maintain its lead for a bit, but Utah would eventually claw its way back, pulling ahead at 68-67 moments later when Utah big man Branden Carlson hit an open jumper.
The Wildcats would regain the lead, eventually pulling ahead 76-71 with 1:10 to play, but Utah would close the game out on a 5-0 run to send this to overtime, tied at 76-76.
Starting slow, both teams would seemingly exchange buckets for much of the first overtime, but things looked a bit grim when Utah hit a pair of free throws to go ahead 82-80 with 0:42 to play.
Luckily, Caleb would answer with a huge, driving layup, tying the game at 82-82 before neither team was able to capitalize in the waning moments to come away with the win. Onto the second overtime, we go...
Starting hot, Arizona would open the second overtime on a 6-2 run to pull ahead by four, but once again Utah would claw its way back in, exchanging buckets with the Cats before eventually evening the game at 91-91 after a pair of free-throws from Keba Keita.
But once again, neither team was able to score when it mattered most, going ice cole over the last minute of the second overtime, so onto a third overtime we go!
Exchanging buckets early, Arizona was finally able to hit its stride in the third overtime, answering with a quick, 9-0 run to pull ahead 102-93 with 0:40 to play.
With the game seemingly in hand, Utah would continue to try and fight back, but luckily, it was too little too late at that point as the Wildcats were finally able to pull away in the end, winning 105-99 in what will now be a triple-overtime classic!
With the victory, the Wildcats improve to 18-5 (9-3) on the year and will resume conference action on Saturday as they take on Colorado in Boulder. Tip-off against the Buffaloes on Saturday is set for 8:00 PM MST and will be broadcast on ESPN.