The Utes played much more like the Utes that we saw last season, especially over the last couple of games. The Utes played one of their most complete games of the season, especially in conference play, in a win over the Bears. The Utes were led by Jakob Poeltl's 21 points and 9 rebounds. For much of the game the only person that could stop Jakob was Jakob. He shot 7-of-10 from the field, but was only 7-of-14 from the free throw line. Brandon Taylor and Kyle Kuzma pitched in 15 points a piece.
For Cal, they were led by Jaylen Brown almost exclusively, with 27 points on 9-of-20 shooting (8-of-10 from the foul line). Brown was about all Cal had going for them in the second half, especially when Cal is struggling to find a shot. Ivan Rabb pitched in 12 points and 12 rebounds, but was held in check much of the night, unlike the game in Berkeley a couple of weeks ago.
Utah was in control much of the game, with a lead as much as 14 points in the second half, and had a 13 point lead in the first half. Utah did allow Cal to close that double digit lead to just one at the end of the half, on 6-of-12 shooting from three point land. Cal actually took a five point lead early in the 2nd, when it seemed the Utah team we saw in Berkeley had come back. However, Utah responded almost immediately with a 19-2 run over the next six minutes to put themselves firmly back in control. Cal never really threatened much more the rest of the night.
Utah may have put in their most complete performance of the conference season on both offense and defense. Utah's offense shot 48%, and against a very good Cal defense, that's an accomplishment. On defense, for most of the night, Utah was aggressive and was rotating very well. Utah held Cal to 38% shooting, and were +2 in rebounding.
Brandon Taylor, although he didn't have a great shooting night, hit some big shots and helped Utah keep their game in grasp. Lorenzo Bonam was attacking the basket all night long, and was either finishing at the basket, or setting up someone to make a play.
The stretch at the end of the first half wasn't good, which allowed Cal to pull within one. Utah got a bit lazy on defense and Cal hit five consecutive shots. When you're playing a team like Cal, who has a lot of offensive firepower, that's a lapse you can't have.
The Bad II
Where have you heard this? The Pac-12 officials are bad. Even Coach Krystkowiak commented that he got a bit caught up in it at the end of the first half. They would have some phantom calls, miss calls, and be inconsistent with their whistles, for both teams. It's embarrassing.
The Utes take on the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday and look to sweep the Bay Area schools at the Huntsman Center. Utah has thrust themselves back into the conference race, and have an opportunity to keep climbing with another win. Utah will be looking to avenge a loss to Stanford that opened the conference season on New Year's Day. The Cardinal are coming off of a 16 point loss to Colorado in Boulder.
Here's some post game audio for your enjoyment: