Runnin’ Utes Control Game Against Washington State, Walk Away With Win

Jan 19, 2023, 9:03 PM | Updated: Jan 20, 2023, 11:23 am

SALT LAKE CITY – The Runnin’ Utes returned home in hopes of turning around a three-game losing streak that started against Oregon two weeks ago against the Washington State Cougars.

In the second meetup of the season for Utah and Washington State, the Utes controlled the game once more and walked away with the sweep, 77 – 63.

Leading the charge was center Branden Carlson who finished with 28 points and 8 rebounds on a night where several teammates had shining moments to secure the much-needed victory.

Utah’s First Quarter

Utah made quick work of establishing the tempo of the game early on. After controlling the tipoff, Branden Carlson got the Utes a quick two-points. Washington State quickly answered back tying up the game, but from there Utah took control of the game and was up 11-5 on the Cougars about 15 minutes in.

Carlson continued to be a problem for WSU leading the Utes in both points with nine and rebounds with three at the 11- minute mark. Carlson also established himself as a defensive force early on that would be as unrelenting on the other side of the court as the offensive-side.

Other Utes would start to get going including Wilguens Exacte Jr., Rollie Worster and Lazar Stefanovic, building a decent lead, 25-17, over the Cougars with under eight minutes to play. Through that time, Utah would go on a 9-0 run and make four shots in a row to pull ahead after Washington State got within one just minutes before.

With just over three minutes to play, both Utah and WSU struggled to score. The Utes would go over two minutes before making another basket and the Cougars missed five shots in a row to wind the first half down.

Exacte would have a costly turnover around the three minute mark and Worster would turn it into a foul opportunity for the Cougars to tie the game up at 29. However, traveling shortly after on WSU would give the ball back to the Utes and BC would sink two three-point shots to regain the lead for the Utes, 35-29 with under two minutes to play.

Utes’ Second Half

Utah wasted no time building on their 39-31 lead out of the break, extending it 49-35 with the help Worster and Madsen sinking some big-time shots before the first timeout of the second half.

Both Utah and WSU cooled down with the Utes going on a three-minute-long scoring drought with the Cougars nipping right at their heels with a two-minute drought. Washington State finally had an opportunity to put some points on the board around the 11-minute mark, making two of three free throws and cutting Utah’s lead.

Anthony quickly answered with two-points of his own, but WSU came right back with three more making the score 53-46 in favor of the Utes with just under 10 minutes left to play.

Despite the bogged-down moments, Utah never lost control of the game. Down the stretch Stefanovic, Carlson, and Madsen came in with key plays to wrap the game up for the Utes who would finish the night on 55% shooting from the field, 41% from the three, and 45% from the free throw line. The Utes were solid sharing the ball with 20 assists and in cleanup duties with 33 rebounds.

Michelle Bodkin is the Utah Utes Insider for KSLsports.com and host of both the Crimson Corner Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and The Saturday Show (Saturday from 10 a.m.–12 p.m.) on The KSL Sports Zone. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram: @BodkinKSLsports

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Runnin’ Utes Control Game Against Washington State, Walk Away With Win