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Utah Wins on the Road 60-56 @ Stanford - Game Thread

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Instant Reaction and Analysis and Final Thoughts

NCAA Basketball: Utah at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Game Notes:

The Utes are in the middle of a 3 game road trip and coming off a couple of tough losses at home to Oregon and then on Saturday evening at Colorado after leading a majority of the game. Branden Carlson had an incredible 22 points in the first half but could only manage 3 points in the second half and the Utes lost to the Buffs 81-76. The Runnin’ Utes are looking to get their first win at Stanford since 2019. Stanford is coming off a 76-65 road win against Oregon State on Saturday night. The Cardinal enter the game with a 15-10 record overall and 8-7 in conference play. The Runnin’ Utes are on a two-game losing streak (after beating Oregon State to snap a 10 game losing streak) and have a 9-16 record overall and 2-13 in conference play. The Runnin’ Utes are led by Both Gach who is averaging 9.3 points per game and the Cardinal are led by Harrison Ingram with 11.6 points per game. Stanford is currently projected to make the NIT at around a 6 seed in the tournament. This will pose a tough road challenge for the Utes as they look to get their first road win of the season. Tune in wherever you are and cheer on the Utes in a late-game tonight.

When: Thursday, February 17 at 9 pm MT

Where: Maples Pavilion (Stanford, CA)

How to Watch: ESPNU

First Half

16:00- Neither team setting the world on fire to start this game as both teams are shooting 25% from the field and Stanford leads Utah 4-2. The Runnin’ Utes have two turnovers early which is definitely a stat we’ll have to keep our eyes on as the night continues as well as the rebounding differential which Stanford leads 6-3.

10:00- Great response from the Runnin’ Utes as Utah leads 13-12. After Utah trailed 12-4 the Runnin’ Utes went on a 9-0 run to take the lead which prompted a quick timeout from Stanford. Stanford’s size was causing a lot of problems for the Utes but they have been more active in the last couple of minutes in hitting the glass and quickly transitioning leading to better looks from the field.

8:00- Stanford getting a number of offensive rebounds in the first half as they have 6 offensive rebounds so far compared to 0 for the Utes. Despite the advantage, Stanford has gone 5 minutes without scoring and Utah still leads 13-12. Turnovers continue to hurt the Utes as they have 5 so far in the game.

4:00- I know I mentioned this already but Stanford is really tall and they are using that size to their advantage as they are getting numerous second-chance opportunities leading to some good ball movement and a 3 which forced a timeout from Craig Smith. Stanford leads 21-17. The Runnin’ Utes have to box out and crash the boards to limit Stanford to only on shot possessions or this could be a long night.

0:00- Stanford with a strong end to the half as they lead 28-21 at the half. Neither team shooting particularly well as both teams are around 38% from the field but Stanford has had a clear edge in the rebounding battle as they lead 20-15 on the boards and they have 8 offensive rebounds compared to 3 for the Utes. The Utes also have 7 turnovers in the first half which is something that has plagued them this season. Brandon Angel leads all scorers for the Cardinals with 8 points and Both Gach leads the Utes with 5 points. The Utes need to be more physical boxing out and crashing the boards and they must have some players step up offensively. No one right now is taking control of the game and it’ll be interesting to see who steps up for the Runnin’ Utes. Time to muscle up Utes and chop down the Cardinal!

Second Half

15:00- The Utes have definitely responded with tougher physical play as they are crashing the boards hard early in the second half. Great to see Gabe Madsen hitting two big 3’s to help the Utes cut into the lead. Stanford still leads 35-30. An important couple of minutes for the Runnin’ Utes as they continue to try to cut into this Stanford lead.

12:00- Stanford has responded in a big way and now extends their lead to 46-38 with an and 1 opportunist coming after the timeout. Isa Silva has had a couple big 3’s for the Cardinal and the Utes have tried to answer but they will really need to dig their heels in and respond or the Cardinal could begin to run away with this game.

8:00- This game has really grinded to a halt as a lot of fouls called in the last couple of minutes and Stanford will now be shooting free throws the rest of the way. Thioune and Gach in could trouble with 3 each. Stanford leads 51-45. The Runnin’ Utes have had trouble all night coping with the physical play of the Cardinal and a comeback will be especially difficult given the foul situation. The Utes have to keep chipping away at this lead.

4:00- The Runnin’ Utes will not stop fighting in this game and they have cut the deficit to 54-50 with just under 4 minutes to play. The Utes have forced a number of Cardinal turnovers in the second half and Stanford now has 9 turnovers to 8 for the Utes. The Runnin’ Utes now will have the ball coming out of the timeout with a chance to turn it into a one-possession game.

2:00- Stanford forced into a timeout as Utah playing tough defense and turning it into quick offense with back-to-back baskets from Gach and Carlson and the Utes have now tied it up at 54-54. Great response from the Utes and they are once again in a tight game; please let us close this one out and get a massive road win (and our first road win of the season).

1:00- Under 30 seconds left in the game and the Runnin’ Utes lead 59-54 after Gabe Madsen hits a tough 3 and Both Gach makes a pair of free throws after Stanford is forced to foul. The Utes have to play some tough defense and hit free throws to close this out on the road.

Final Thoughts

This is usually the part where I would lament about how the Utes played tough and were right in the game until the end but came up just short, but tonight is not that night. The Runnin’ Utes come into Maples Pavilion and come from behind to beat the Cardinal 60-56. The Runnin’ Utes get their first win on the road since February 2021. The Utes had not led until a little over 6 minutes in the first half and trailed by as many as 9 points but it just didn’t matter as the Utes were just more physical and mentally better than Stanford in the decisive minutes of the game. For much of the game Stanford had second chance opportunities on offense and held the Utes to only one and done shots on defense; however, in the final 4 minutes of the game, the Runnin’ Utes flipped the script and did that to Stanford to complete the comeback and close out a tight game. It was great to see Craig Smith and the team get a comeback win like this on the road and it will hopefully provide a major confidence boost ahead for the final 4 games of the season prior to the PAC 12 tournament. James Keefe led the Cardinal with 11 points and Branden Carlson went into beast mode at the end to lead all scorers with 13 points. For a team that has had so many frustrating losses and close games, this is exactly what the Runnin’ Utes needed. Great comeback Runnin’ Utes!!!

Next Up: Utah Runnin’ Utes @ California Golden Bears on Saturday, February 19 at 4 pm MT on the PAC 12 Network