Runnin’ Utes Exit Pac-12 Tournament After Game One

Mar 8, 2023, 9:36 PM | Updated: Mar 9, 2023, 10:03 am

LAS VEGAS – The Runnin’ Utes made an early exit from the Pac-12 Tournament after struggling defensively against 10 seed Stanford.

While most of the stats for Utah and the Cardinal looked the same, the difference makers in the game were turnovers (12-4) and points allowed in the paint (38-24). The Cardinal won the game, 73-62 ending Utah’s season.

Branden Carlson led the team in points (27) and rebounds (10) while Lazar Stefanovic was the team leader in assists (4).

Utah came into Las Vegas with hopes of righting the ship after a tough final three weeks in the regular season, but just didn’t have enough left in the tank. Head coach Craig Smith and staff will now turn their attention to bolstering the roster in hopes of pushing the 2023-2024 squad a little further still.

Utah, Stanford First Quarter

Utah got off to a quick start in the Pac-12 Men’s Basketball Tournament with the help of Rollie Worster and Branden Carlson, but Stanford had answers back just as quickly. Within the first four minutes of play, the Cardinal built a small lead, 9-5 over the Utes. Going into the first break, both teams struggled to hit buckets after the quick start.

Out of the break Utah’s scoring drought extended into six minutes while the Cardinal continued to build a lead, 16-7 with 12:10 left in the half. A trip to the line for Marco Anthony yielded no points for the Utes as Stanford put two more on the board before BC broke the spell, 20-9. Gabe Madsen hit a much needed three at the 11-minute mark, 20-12.

Out of the break, Anthony bullied his way to the basket garnering a trip to the line to give Utah three points and putting them within five of Stanford, 20-15. After over three minutes both Stanford and Utah made moves changing the score, 22-17 still in favor of the Cardinal. Madsen then sunk a three to put the Utes within two, 22-20.

Stanford upped their lead back up to six, 26-20 with just under six to play in the first half. Before Utah head coach Craig Smith took a timeout, the Cardinal put up three more points for good measure, 29-20. A foul sent BC to the line with 4:20 left on the clock hitting two shots, 29-22.

Out of the final break of the half, BC set up for a big dunk to put Utah back within five before Stanford answered back, 31-24. Stanford went into the half with a 34-27 advantage.

Utes, Cardinal Second Half

Six minutes into the second half the Utes fell behind, 45-36, to the Cardinal. While both teams were shooting around the same (Utah 36% from the field and Stanford 37%) the biggest difference not in Utah’s favor was turnovers, 9-1.

With under 10 minutes to play Utah inched their way to within nine points of Stanford, 49-40. The Cardinal hit two from the free throw to add two more points to their lead, 51-40. With 7:53 on the clock Standford and Utah had added two more points to their scores making it a 53-42 game.

Out of the break Stanford added four more points before BC hit a dunk, 57-45. Lasar Stefanovic sank a three with under six to play, but the Cardinal was able score a few more times, 63-48. Stefanovic hit another three with under four to play, but Stanford answered back again through the backdoor, 65-51.

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 Exit Pac-12 Tournament After Game One