Utah Mens Basketball Take Care Of Business Against California

Dec 29, 2022, 10:00 PM | Updated: Jan 11, 2023, 4:26 pm

Marco Anthony - Utah Utes vs. Arizona Wildcats...

(Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics)

(Photo courtesy of Arizona Athletics)

BERKELEY, California — The 9-4 Utah Utes took on the 1-12 California Golden Bears at the Haas Pavilion in California on Thursday.

Although a seemingly one-sided matchup, the Utes entered the game on a 2-game losing streak and the Golden Bears had just gotten their first win.

First Half

It was a defensive-oriented game early on. The score was 2-2 after the first four minutes of play. Ben Carlson broke the stalemate with a thunderous dunk.

Both teams did much of their work from the inside in the first half. The Utes missed all of their first seven three-point attempts. The Golden Bears made just one of their first seven three’s.

The strong defense continued for the Utes. Branden Carlson skied for the denial against California’s D.J. Thorpe.

Utah scored 20 of their first 24 points in the paint. Marco Anthony and Lazar Stefanovic shot well early on for Utah, combining for 6-9 from the field.

Despite shooting struggles, Utah held on to a multiple possession lead for much of the first half. Mostly thanks to aggressive play on both offense and defense. The score was 27-18 at half.

Second Half

The Utes started the second half slow, making just one of their first six field goal attempts in the second half. The misses led to transition opportunities for the Golden Bears. After four minutes, the score was 29-26.

Utah made their first three-point field goal with 13 minutes left in the second half. The Utes were 0-11 prior to that make. Wilguens Exacte Jr., a 46% shooter from deep, broke the cold streak.

The three-pointer sparked a 7-0 run for the Utes, regaining the 9-point advantage they had lost after halftime.

The 7-0 run quickly turned into a 13-0 run which forced California to take two timeouts in less than a minute of game time.

After both of California’s best rebounders got in foul trouble, Utah was able to keep their lead in the double digits for the rest of the night.

Branden Carlson fouled out for the Utes with three minutes left in regulation. Despite the loss of their 7-footer, the Utes expanded their lead to 16 in the final minutes.

The Utes defense was impressive. They held the Golden Bears to 34% from the field and 16% from three.

The final score was 58-43. Lazar Stefanovic and Branden Carlsen were the scoring leaders for Utah with 11 each. The win gave Utah the #1 spot in the PAC-12. The Utes are also 3-0 in PAC-12 play for the first time in 8 years.

Chandler Holt is a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter at @ChandlerHoltKSL.

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Utah Mens Basketball Take Care Of Business Against California