Runnin’ Utes Go Wire-To-Wire, Hand No. 4 Arizona First Loss

Dec 1, 2022, 8:31 PM | Updated: 9:29 pm
Ben Carlson #1 of the Utah Utes slam dunks the ball over Azuolas Tubelis #10 of the Arizona Wildcats during the first half of their game at the Jon M. Huntsman Center December 1, 2022 in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Chris Gardner/ Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Gardner/ Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah men’s basketball team went wire-to-wire in an upset of the No. 4 team in the country, the Arizona Wildcats.

Utah Upsets No. 4 Arizona

The Utes hosted the Wildcats at the Huntsman Center for their Pac-12 Conference opener on Thursday, December 1.

Utah defeated Arizona, 81-66.

The Utes never trailed in what was the Wildcats’ first loss of the season.

First Half

53 seconds into the contest, Branden Carlson connected on a three-pointer to get the Utes on the scoreboard and it was all Utah the rest of the way.

The ‘Cats hung close for much of the first half before the Runnin’ Utes made a push late in the half.

With 6:34 left in the opening 20 minutes of action, Utah went up by double digits for the first time. By halftime, the Utes had built their lead to 17 points.

At the break, Utah owned a 42-25 advantage.

Utah shot 47.4 percent from the field, including 30.8 percent from beyond the arc. Arizona struggled shooting 27.3 percent overall and only 2-13 for 15.4 percent from distance.

Branden Carlson led the Utes with nine points on 3-7 field goals. He added five rebounds and two blocks during the first 20 minutes of game time.

Rollie Worster and Ben Carlson combined for 15 points and seven boards. Worster dished out three assists in the first half.

Final 20 Minutes

After the two teams came out of the locker room, the Wildcats caught some lightning in a bottle and started to look like the No. 4 team in the nation to open the second half.

Arizona trimmed Utah’s lead to six points with 13:36 to go. It was the closest the Wildcats would come to the Utes during the final half.

With 10:48 left to play, Utah’s Gabe Madsen knocked down a three. 41 seconds later, Branden Carlson buried a triple to push Utah’s lead to 61-47, which forced Arizona to call timeout.

The Utes were able to hold off the Wildcats during the final 10 minutes of action and capture the upset victory.

Utah finished the night shooting 43.7 percent overall and 9-25 for 36.0 percent from three. Arizona shot 35.2 percent from the field, including a dismal 4-23 or 14.3 percent from beyond the arc.

Branden Carlson led the Runnin’ Utes with 22 points on 8-15 shooting, including five made three-pointers.

Worster added a near triple-double with 12 points, 11 rebounds, and nine assists. Madsen and Ben Carlson each poured in 11 points.

Up Next

With the win, the Runnin’ Utes improved their record to 6-2. Arizona dropped to 6-1.

RELATED: Utah Basketball Bounces Back, Rolls Against St. Thomas (MN)

Utah’s next game is on the road against the Washington State Cougars on Sunday, December 4 at 2 p.m. (MDT). The game will be televised on ESPNU.

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Runnin’ Utes Go Wire-To-Wire, Hand No. 4 Arizona First Loss