The Runnin’ Utes swept the Bay Area schools this week, beating Cal 82-64 Saturday night. With four straight wins, the Utes are now 5-2 in conference play and tied with USC and Arizona for second place in the PAC-12 standings (pending the final result of the Arizona/UCLA game). We grade out Utah’s dominating win below.
Three pointers were once again raining down for the Utes, making 13 of 31 attempts, and shooting 55.9% overall. Sedrick Barefield led with 21 points along with five rebounds and two assists. Timmy Allen and Both Gach also had impressive stat lines, with Allen scoring 17 points with 12 rebounds and two assists with Gach’s 18 points off the bench being the difference maker. The biggest mark against the Utes continues to be turnovers, committing 15 against the lowly Cal Bears.
The Utes continue to be one of the best rebounding teams in the nation, totaling 42 in tonight’s win, to the Golden Bears 25. Parker Van Dyke’s two steals and Jace Johnson’s lone block were bright spots for the Utah defense, and helped keep Cal to just 64 points. Fortunately a stout defensive effort wasn’t necessary to clinch the win, as Cal struggled to score once the Utes claimed their first lead at the 16:17 mark in the first half; a lead that was never surrendered.
Gach’s expanded role proved to be beneficial, with his 18 points being his best scoring effort since the start of conference play. While it seems inevitable that the Utes will once again be relegated to the NIT this postseason, there’s a lot of young talent, like Gach, that will benefit from games like this in the coming seasons as Utah hopes to return to the big dance.
Utah had control of this game early on, and never let go. It was an impressive, commanding win over an easily beatable team, and the Utes did exactly what they needed to gain a little separation in the conference log-jam between second and fifth place.