On the road and with little depth, Stanford gave the No. 11-ranked Runnin' Utes their best shot, playing physically, crashing the offensive glass, and quickly jumping out to a 10-4 lead to start the game. But Utah's depth, led by reserve center Dallin Bachynski and reserve forward Brekkott Chapman, was simply too much for the thin Cardinal, and the Runnin' Utes finished off a stern test by taking down Stanford 75-59.
Utah's starting center Jakob Poeltl had a difficult time with the physical play inside of Stefan Nastic. In fact, it appeared early in the game that the Stanford strategy was to foul the poor free-throw-shooting Austrian big and force him to earn points from the line. Ultimately, Poeltl was limited by four fouls, including one off a clear block of Nastic. The Austrian 7-footer did chip in three points, three assists, and one rebound. But with Poeltl on the bench for large chunks of both halves, Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak turned to last season's starter, Bachynski, who responded with his best game of this season exactly when the Utes needed it most. Big Bach scored 13 points and pulled down six rebounds (tied for the game high).
Utah freshman Brekkott Chapman also came off the bench to give the Utes a lift. B-Easy scored eight quick points with his Runnin' Utes down 5-10, including two threes, to give Utah their first lead of the game. The 6-8 freshman from Roy, Utah finished with 12 points (on 4-of-6 shooting, 2-of-2 from beyond the arc) and five rebounds.
In the battle of Wooden Award candidates, Delon Wright came out ahead, leading the Runnin' Utes with 15 points, five rebounds, four steals, one assist and a blocked shot. Stanford's Chasson Randle, the Pac-12's leading scorer, was held to 10 points on 2-of-11 shooting (18 percent), 0-4 from the three-point line. Randle finished the first half with a goose egg on the stat sheet and didn't get things going until late in the game (mostly on 6-of-7 from the free throw line).
Wooden Award Showdown: Advantage Wright.
On the other side of the court, Stanford held surging Utah point guard Brandon Taylor without a field goal (0-for-4 from the three-point line). Randle hounded Taylor at every turn, even blocking one of his three-point attempts. In the end, Taylor finished with just five points, but he changed his game a bit and got others involved, logging eight assists (to only one turnover) and two rebounds.
Starting froward Jordan Loveridge also chipped in 12 points and three rebounds. In the second half, Loveridge turned it on, scoring seven points in the span of about a minute and a half to push Utah's lead from 12 to 18.
Stanford was led by guard Anthony Brown's 15 points (5-of-9 shooting overall, 3-of-6 from three-point range). Guard Marcus Allen contributed 13 points, five rebounds, and two assists.
Utah has still not allowed an opponent to score over 72 points all season. The Utes held Stanford to nearly 16 points below their 74.9 points per game average, as well as holding the offense-minded Cardinal to 37.7 percent shooting for the game. However, Utah did give up an uncharacteristic 42.9 percent three-point accuracy (6-of-14).
Utah also took care of the ball better than the Cardinal, with just eight turnovers to 12 for Stanford.
With the loss, Stanford drops to 16-8 overall, 7-5 in the Pac-12. Stanford next travels across the Rockies to take on Colorado, a team that will be reeling from a loss to the Cal Bears.
No. 11 Utah improves to 19-4, one shy of the magic 20-win plateau, 9-2 in the Pac-12 conference. On Sunday at 6:30 p.m. MT, The Utes will welcome Cal to the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The game is currently sold out, but will be broadcast on ESPNU.
- Attendance was announced at 15,018, a sell-out, but there appeared to be a number of empty seats throughout the stadium. Hopefully, the absentees find their way to their seats on Sunday against a tougher-than-expected Golden Bears squad.
- The best three-point shooting team in the Pac-12, Utah, shot an unusually average 33.3 percent from beyond the three-point arc (5-of-15). However, the Utes shot a surprising 83.3 percent from the free throw line (20-of-24).