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Utah holds off Stanford in OT

NCAA Basketball: Utah at Arizona State Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Utah got a really nice win on Thursday night, a Quad 1 win, for those of you who track the NET ratings, the rating that is used for NCAA Tournament selection and seeding. Utah beat Stanford in overtime 64-56. Utah’s play remains strong in the Huntsman Center, as their only loss in league play remains to Oregon. Utah was led by Brandon Carlson, who was a monster. He had 15 points, 10 rebounds and 8 blocks. He was dominating on defense, helping neutralize Stanford in the paint, and was a beast cleaning up the glass all night long. Timmy Allen also pitched in 15 points, Riley Battin had 11, and Rylan Jones had 7 points, including a huge layup in overtime, and 6 assists.

The Utes had 15 points in the first five minutes of the game. The offense was smooth and clicking, and it looked like Utah had it figured out. Then the rest of the game happened. Utah had built a 13 point lead, which they were able to keep for much of the game, but the offense really went off the cliff the last 15 minutes of the first half, including going 10 minutes without making a field goal. Even due to that 10 minute stretch of only hitting some free throws, Utah was able to hold onto the halftime lead. Stanford is one of the best defensive teams in the country, and Tommy Connor had Utah’s defensive game plan locked in all game.

The second half was another half of sketchy offense by both teams. Stanford gradually shaved Utah’s lead down, and actually took the lead with under a minute remaining on a huge three. Timmy Allen and a chance to win the game at the free throw line, but split the pair and sent it into overtime. From there, the Utah offense came back to life. Utah had another 14 points in that five minute set, and the biggest five was probably due to Jaxon Brenchley. He hit a huge three to give Utah a two possession lead, and then he drove the baseline and found Carlson for what was likely the dagger dunk to put Stanford away.

Utah only shot 37% on the game, and was just 70% from the free throw line with 18 turnovers, but their grit on the defensive end really gave them the opportunity to win this game. They were even out rebounded by 10. This was an ugly game, but the Utes just battled on the defensive end, and earned a hard fought, nice win.

Next up the Utes will go for the sweep against Cal on Saturday.