A week after blowing out Cal by 30 points, Cal got the better of the Utes in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament. For the Utes, it was a game that kind of reflected the season, opened up playing tough, went through a terrible stretch and closed on fire to almost win the game.
Utah was battling some foul trouble with David Collette, big shocker, which required Utah to go a little small, which in turn helped Utah lose plenty of offensive rebounds to Cal. That was a large theme that went throughout the game, when Utah would get a stop, they couldn’t finish the possession. Look, Collette wasn’t a rebounding machine, but he would have helped keep Cal off the boards.
Coming out of a 30-30 tie from halftime, Utah went into a pretty terrible dry spell, and also was very slow and, stagnant on the defensive side, which allowed Cal to build a double digit lead, and it looked like game over at that point. When everyone thought Utah was down and out, they stormed back after some big shots by Sedrick Barefield and especially from Kyle Kuzma who hit some deep, important threes. After a missed free throw by Barefield, which would have tied the game, Jabari Bird, who burned the Utes against just like he did in Berkeley, went down and hit a floater and got fouled - a foul call that was absolutely terrible. After the Bears took that four point lead, Kuzma hit a deeeeep three to pull within one, but Utah couldn’t close the deal and force overtime.
Next up for the Utes is a likely NIT invite, which is what a lot of people predicted in the pre-season.