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Utah basketball: Wright, Utes still confident despite loss at Oregon

SALT LAKE CITY — Delon Wright isn’t lacking in confidence after Utah’s 69-58 loss at Oregon on Sunday. The senior guard is taking a positive approach into the 13th-ranked Utes’ final games before postseason play begins next month.

“From here on out,” Wright said after practice Tuesday at the Huntsman Center. “I don’t expect us to lose any more for the rest of the season.”

Wright added that the Utes (21-5, 11-3) can continue getting better as they close out their Pac-12 slate against Arizona State, Arizona, Washington State and Washington. He said they could win those four, then the Pac-12 tournament and keep going from there.

“That’s our goal,” Wright said.

Utah has bounced back well after losses this season. The Utes have gone on winning streaks after all four previous setbacks this season. They won five straight following the loss at San Diego State; seven consecutive after coming up short against Kansas; two victories followed a defeat at Arizona; and five wins came in the wake of the UCLA shortfall.

Wright said the key to bouncing back has been watching film with the coaches and listening to what they’re saying — try to execute things when it happens again in the next game and moving forward.

In the Oregon game, Wright noted that several deficiencies were identified — rebounding, first-half turnovers, a lot of threes and key free throws. The loss most likely cost the Utes a shot at an outright Pac-12 regular season championship.

“We’re not deflated. It’s just a life lesson. We just can’t come out soft like that against a team like that again. We’ve got to take them more serious,” said guard-forward Dakarai Tucker. “We’ve just got to come out and play hard in the beginning and just not take any team for granted and just know we’ve got a target on our chest. We’re playing for something and then, you know, play our roles.”

As such, Tucker acknowledged there’s a unified approach.

“We’ve got to take every team serious because every team that steps on the floor with us is in the way,” he explained. “That’s how we have to see it.”

FINAL HOME GAMES: Wright acknowledged that he’s been thinking about this week being the final two Huntsman Center games of his career. The Utes face Arizona State Thursday and seventh-ranked Arizona on Saturday.

“Oh yeah, it’s been creeping up on me ever since the halfway (mark) of the Pac-12,” Wright said. “So it’ll be surreal when it happens.”

Wright and Dallin Bachynski are the lone seniors on this year’s squad.

EXTRA STUFF: Utah’s 17-game win streak in the Huntsman Center is the program’s longest since a 21-game run that ended in 2005. … The Utes lead the nation in victories by 20 or more points with 12. … Thursday is Utah’s annual “blackout” game.

*****

Arizona State (15-12, 7-7) at No. 13 Utah (21-5, 11-3)

Thursday, 8:30 p.m.

TV: Fox Sports 1

Radio: ESPN 700

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer