Utah Basketball Ends Non-Conference Slate With Win Over Fresno State

Dec 21, 2021, 6:51 PM
Rollie Worster - Utah Utes vs. Manhattan...
(Photo courtesy of Nick Grace, Utah Athletics)
(Photo courtesy of Nick Grace, Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY – It wasn’t pretty but the Utah basketball team was able to end their non-conference slate with a 55-50 win over Fresno State.

Marco Anthony led Utah with 11 points and six rebounds. Lahat Thioune chipped in 10 points. Lazar Stefanovic posted nine points, while Rollie Worster added eight points.

Fresno State star Orlando Robinson had 17 points and nine rebounds on 6-of-14 shooting from the field.

Offense Struggles On Both Sides In First Half

Utah had a slight lead midway through the first half before Fresno State went on a 13-2 run. The Runnin’ Utes had a stretch of nearly five minutes where they didn’t score. The Bulldogs had a 19-13 advantage at the under-eight media timeout.

The Runnin’ Utes climbed back into the game and went back-and-forth before Fresno State took a 23-22 lead into the halftime break.

Lazar Stefanovic led the way with seven points in the first half. Marco Anthony chipped in six points. Utah shot 30% from the field and just 17% from the three-point line.

Robinson was limited to seven points in the first half on just three shot attempts for the Bulldogs.

Utah Hits Big Shots Down The Stretch To Get Past Fresno State

At the start of the second half, Utah scored five straight and was starting to gain momentum with back-to-back buckets at the rim, finding Lahat Thioune after the ball handler gets into the paint.

Then Fresno State was able to claw their way back into the game and had a two-point game with under 13 minutes remaining. Rollie Worster hit a contested three-pointer to get the Utes back ahead before another media timeout.

With under five minutes to play, Utah trailed by two before Riley Battin and David Jenkins Jr. knocked down a three-pointer each to put the Runnin’ Utes ahead by four.

No one scored from that point until 1:05 remaining when Stefanovic nailed two free throws. Utah was up 51-45.

Fresno State missed a layup at the rim and Utah was able to get a wide open dunk the other way from Marco Anthony. With an eight-point lead, Robinson knocked down his third three-pointer of the game to bring the Bulldogs within five.

Riley Battin missed the front end of the one-and-one and Fresno State got a layup to get to within three, 53-50 with 13 seconds to play. Jenkins put the game out of reach with a free throw.

Utah improved their record to 8-4 on the season. They will jump back into Pac-12 play with a trip to Oregon, beginning on Thursday, December 30 against Oregon State. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. MT on the Pac-12 Network.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com, Co-Host of Faith, Family and Football podcast with Clark Phillips III and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports.

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Utah Basketball Ends Non-Conference Slate With Win Over Fresno State