LAS VEGAS — The Runnin’ Utes were hoping to take care of some unfinished business when they got to the Pac-12 tournament this year.

Then they forgot to take care of the basketball.

In what was a microcosm of the season in new coach Craig Smith’s first year, Utah turned the ball over 16 times, which Washington turned into 21 points, and the Huskies raced past the Utes 82-70 in a first-round game at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

“We were not going to walk out of there without a ‘W’ tonight,” a jubilant (for him) Washington coach Mike Hopkins said.

Unfortunately, the Utes didn’t have the same attitude. They played decently in stretches, but had a major lapse midway through the second half, and that ended up costing them any chance of pulling off an upset as a No. 11 seed going against a No. 6 seed.

Washington (17-14) moves on to face No. 3 seed USC in a 9:30 p.m. MST quarterfinal Thursday night, while Utah’s season ends at 11-20.

“I thought we did some really good things, when we didn’t turn it over,” Smith said.

Problem was, the Utes turned the ball over. Sixteen times. And when they did give it away, Washington made them pay — like the first possession of the game when Daejon Davis stole the ball from Lazar Stefanovic and went in for a dunk.

That was just a harbinger of things to come.

Washington defeated Utah 74-68 in Salt Lake City on Jan. 6 and 77-73 in double overtime in Seattle on Jan. 29, forcing a combined 39 turnovers in those games. Utah only had six turnovers in the first half, which was why UW only led 40-37 at the break.

Then the second half happened.

Washington outscored the Utes 42-33 in the final 20 minutes.

“Going down three at halftime, I felt good about where we were at,” Smith said.

A 19-4 run did the trick for the Huskies, who avoided being the third straight No. 11 seed to lose to the No. 6 seed in the tournament.

“We were able to get a tough first-round win,” Hopkins said. “… We turned them over and got in transition. That was really big.”

Smith calls them “catastrophic turnovers,” and on Wednesday night it seemed like the Utes had a season’s worth of them.

The Utes had done a decent job defending UW’s Terrell Brown Jr., the league’s leading scorer, in the regular season — with Marco Anthony drawing the tough defensive assignment.

But Brown was magnificent at T-Mobile, basically taking over after a Branden Carlson jumper cut UW’s lead to 47-46 with 15:19 remaining. At that point, prospects for the Utes of taking the contest to the wire appeared good.

But Brown scored on three straight possessions, hitting tough shots on each one. He finished with a game-high 22 points on 9 of 19 shooting.

“Brown is a heckuva player,” Smith said. “… He is such a unique guy. He doesn’t shoot many 3s, but for him to lead the Pac-12 in scoring (that’s unusual). He just puts a lot of pressure on you.”

While Brown was doing his thing on the offensive end, the Utes were falling apart when they got the ball. They had seven turnovers during a nine-possession stretch that pretty much told the tale.

“We end up shooting 48% from the field, but at the end of the day when you give up 1.23 points per possession, that’s just too much and it is too hard to overcome,” Smith said.

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Anthony led the Utes with 18 points, while Carlson chipped in 14 and Gabe Madsen had 12, thanks to a last-second 3-pointer. As has been the case all season, the Utes simply didn’t have a go-to guy — like Brown is for the Huskies — when they desperately needed a bucket to stop the bleeding.

Anthony, who kind of took on that role as the season progressed, and did again for much of Wednesday night, said after the game that he didn’t participate in Senior Night ceremonies last week because he still hasn’t decided whether he will be back or not and wants to keep his options open.

Another reason why Washington won is because the Huskies took care of the ball. While the Huskies were scoring 21 points off turnovers, Utah was scoring just two points off five UW giveaways.

“Us having only five turnovers was huge,” Hopkins said.

The Huskies had just one turnover in the first half, which came when PJ Fuller fumbled the ball out of bounds with just 32 seconds left in the half.

The Utes stayed close by shooting 50% from the field — 15 of 30 — and refusing to go away after Emmitt Matthews’ dunk gave the Huskies a 38-32 lead with 2:29 left in the half.

On what counted as one of Utah’s turnovers, Anthony hit a 3-pointer, but he just missed beating the shot clock. It turned out to be that kind of night — and that kind of season — for the Utes. They were just a second too slow, a basket too late.

Anthony led the Utes with 11 in the first half, while Carlson had six and Jaxon Brenchley added five off the bench in nine solid minutes.

Smith said the Utes were hurt when point guard Rollie Worster briefly left the game after taking a hard fall. He later returned, and finished with eight rebounds and six assists.

“Kinda midway through the second half there, we just had some casual offensive possessions and that’s what they do. They are very athletic one through five,” Smith said. “They cover ground quickly, and so if you have a lazy pass, or you are soft with the ball, they jump that thing quickly.”