Wednesday night was not a good one for University of Utah star center Luke Nevill.
But it was a great one for guard Carlon Brown.
The Ute sophomore put in 14 points and a career high 12 rebounds as the University of Utah used a strong second half performance to hand the Horned Frogs a stinging 62-54 loss at Daniel-Meyer Coliseum Wednesday night, their third straight.
“When the shot clock was 10 or under, he would just drive us, and we weren’t tough enough to guard him,” said head coach Jim Christian. “He’s obviously not going to make it easy for you, but in those situations somebody on our team is going to have to step up and play one-on-one defense, and he made all the big plays.”
The Horned Frogs led by as many as seven in the first half behind shooting from freshman Ronnie Moss, who started in place of junior Edvinas Ruzgas. Moss started the game seven of 10 from the field and finished with 14 points.
But a six-minute TCU dry spell early in the second half allowed the Utes to take their first lead at the 13-minute mark. Utah never lost the lead from that point, though the Horned Frogs cut it to one with seven minutes to play.
TCU hit just 27 percent from the field in the second half after a 52 percent shooting performance in the first. Meanwhile, the Utes shot 72 percent from the floor in the second half to keep the Horned Frogs at a distance.
“We went away offensively from what we were doing well,” Christian said. “We got too individualistic on our end of the floor. We weren’t as patient, and we weren’t running our stuff well.”
Utah’s Nevill, who averaged better than 17 points per game entering Wednesday’s game, finished with 12 total points on the night but was held without a field goal in the first half for the first time this season.
“Some nights it’s not his night to score,” Utah coach Jim Boylen said about his 7-foot-2-inch center. “They figured him out a little bit, and they weren’t going to let him score from the baseline.”
Senior Kevin Langford said youth contributed to some of the second half struggles TCU faced. Langford finished with 22 points and seven rebounds.
“We’re capable of beating every team we’ve played,” he said. “It’s just about going out there with a focus and putting two halves together and doing what we do. Sometimes we get away from what we do.”
The team will hope to snap its three-game skid at Colorado State University on Saturday and at University of Nevada, Las Vegas on Tuesday. They return home Feb. 14 against Brigham Young University at 6:30 p.m. All games will be broadcast on The Mtn. network.