In arguably the best game of the young college basketball season, No. 25 Utah upset No. 8 Wichita State, 69-68, in overtime Wednesday.
Utah was up nine points with less than two minutes to go before the Shockers rallied to force overtime.
“To be honest with you, at that moment in time, I really didn’t freak out,” Utah guard Brandon Taylor said on Ferrall on the Bench. “That’s kind of what’s like the difference between this year and last year. I didn’t really freak out. We didn’t get too down on ourselves as a team, I don’t think. We knew they were going to come back. We knew they weren’t going to go away easy, so we rallied. We brought it together and we was like, ‘We can do this.’ It’s unfortunate we kind of gave up that lead within the last two minutes, but I’m (proud of) the way we tied the game up and finished the game. I’m really proud of my team for doing that.”
Taylor finished with a game-high 17 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including 3-of-7 from three-point range, but the most important shots of the game came from reserve Dakari Tucker, who calmly drilled two free throws to force overtime.
“Dakari had ice in his veins,” Taylor said. “Dakari’s interesting. A lot of people don’t know Dakari’s personality. Dakari don’t really get too rattled, so that kind of played into him making those free throws because he didn’t really think about it at all. You could tell he didn’t think about it. He went up there comfortable. I had all the confidence in the world in him, and I knew he was going to knock them down. I knew it was good from his release.”
With the victory, Utah ended Wichita State’s 35-game regular-season winning streak – and it didn’t come easy.
“I haven’t been a part of a game like that of that magnitude since we played UCLA last year at home or even Arizona,” Taylor said. “That game was just probably the biggest game of our careers thus far. We have many, many more games like that, but it was crazy.”
It was crazy because Fred VanVleet (13 points), Rob Baker (15 points) and Tekele Cotton (14 points) all caught fire at the end of regulation.
“(They) got it going a little bit,” Taylor said. “When they kind of came back and that desperate kind of feeling came upon them, I think VanVleet came down and hit two threes in a row. That team is dangerous and lethal. That’s a hell of a team. I tip my hat to Wichita State. They’re a hell of a team.”
The Utes (6-1) can’t rest on their laurels too long, however, as they face heated rival BYU (5-2) at the Marriott Center in Provo next Wednesday.
“We’ll see what they got, and they’re going to see what we got,” Taylor said. “We’re going to go head-to-head, that’s for sure.”