Runnin’ Utes Get Back On Track Against Cal With Teamwork

Feb 5, 2023, 5:55 PM | Updated: Feb 6, 2023, 1:55 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – To say the Oregon and Stanford games for Utah basketball were brutal would be a bit of an understatement, however, the Runnin’ Utes got back on track Sunday evening against Cal.

With help from unlikely heroes in Jaxon Brenchley who had barely played before Gabe Madsen was ruled out with a lower leg injury, Ben Carlson who has played a lot, but hasn’t made a ton of noise to Lazar Stefanovic continuing his streak of good games in Madsen’s absence, the Utes prevailed over the Golden Bears, 61-46

Maybe most importantly off all, after being largely silenced the past two games, big man Branden Carlson was once again making his presence known helping to open things up for everyone else.

BC led the way for the Utes with a double-double scoring 12 points and bringing in 13 rebounds. Stefanovic contributed 15 points, Carlson 11 points, Brenchley 10 and Rollie Worster with eight to put the Utes back in the win column.

Utah Versus Cal First Half

Ben Carlson gets the Utes on the board at the 18:30 mark. Cal answered back with a three making it a 5-3 game early on in the half. Branden Carlson added his own two-points off a jumper tying the game up with under 17 minutes to play.

Rollie Worster swung in out of the break with a layup giving Utah their first lead of the night, 7-5, but the Golden Bears turned around and tied it up again at the 15-minute mark. Worster later followed up with another jumper giving the Utes a 9-7 lead, but Cal answered back again to tie the game.

The Golden Bears continued to be unrelenting building up a six-point lead, 15-9. BC saved the day on what looked like would be another fruitful possession for Cal swatting the ball away and put the ball in the hoop for the Utes to cut the score 15-11 before the next break.

Jaxon Brenchley came on strong for the Utes helping to cut Cal’s lead to one going 2-3 from the field and 1-2 on the three to make it an 18-17 game with about seven minutes to play. A block from BC presented another two-point opportunity for Brenchley to put the Utes up by one, 19-18, along with a trip to the line which did not go in. Lazar Stefanovic followed up with a three-pointer to put Utah up 22-18 with about five left to play.

Stefanovic sank a three to help extend Utah’s lead, 29-24 before halftime.

Utes, Golden Bears Second Half

Marco Anthony got the first points of the second half for the Utes from the line, extending the lead, 31-24. Worster added another two with a jump hook shot making it a 33-24 game. BC knocked down a three continuing to extend the Utes’ lead, 36-25 at about the 17-minute mark.

After building a big lead, Cal started to figure out how to come back on the Utes who still led the game around the 13-minute mark, 43-29. Stefanovic added another two with a layup to extend the score 45-33 with 11:26 left on the clock.

Out of the break, Anthony sank a three-pointer to further extend the Utes 48-33. Brenchley put up a layup for the Utes followed by a Stefanovic three making the game a 55-35 affair with about nine left on the clock.


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 Get Back On Track Against Cal With Teamwork