With the No. 4 seed all wrapped up by virtue of Cal losing to Colorado, the Runnin’ Utes didn’t need to win their regular season finale in the Huntsman Center since they already secured a bye. A win was more or less going to be the cherry on top, and that’s exactly what senior Lorenzo Bonam got for his last home game as the Utes beat Stanford, 67-59.
As the game was tight down the stretch, Bonam came up clutch, and he had a few steals which led to a few open layups and dunks. He ended the game with a career-high 26 points.
Head coach Larry Krystkowiak wasn’t sure if his guys knew the outcome of the Cal game before things got underway in the Huntsman, and he could tell at times the pressure was getting to the team, but Bonam seemed to thrive in that pressure.
“I don’t think I’ve had a senior who’s played well on senior night,” Krystkowiak said. “For him to have a career-high was a great ending to his home games here and a nice way to send him out.”
Bonam thinks he was able to take advantage of the fact that he was the lone senior, but he also wanted to play well for his family that drove from Detroit.
“I put my heart into it,” Bonam said.
Overall, the Utes finished shooting 42.9 percent from the floor, and they ended with 11 turnovers. Kyle Kuzma was the only other Ute to score in double figures as he finished with 16 points and six rebounds.
Utah didn’t open up the game on its best foot as Stanford got a couple of easy layups, and Krystkowiak called a timeout.
The Utes were having a hard time getting the ball to fall into the basket, and a couple of Cardinal three-pointers didn’t help as the visiting squad took a nine point lead, 19-10, with about 11 minutes left in the first half.
David Collette took a hit to the head, and he fell to the floor. He was slow to get up. He eventually got up, but he retreated to the locker room for the rest of the game.. This seemed to ignite a fire in the Utes, and they eventually cut Stanford’s lead to three points, 26-23, with less than four minutes until the half. Then a three-pointer from Gabe Bealer tied the game up.
Both teams had a few misfires after that, and the Cardinal clinged on to a two point lead, 28-26, at the half.
Although teams are constantly told to not foul a three-point shooter, the Cardinal had a lapse in judgement as they tagged Kuzma, and he drained a baseline three-pointer. He completed the four point play to tie the game up at 30. Although Stanford responded with its own three, Utah got rolling, and Barefield hit a layup to give Utah a 35-34 lead.
That lead was short lived, because Stanford hit a jumper and a three-pointer to go back on top, 39-35. After another Cardinal bucket, Parker Van Dyke hit a three-pointer, but someone forgot to track Robert Cartwright as he found an open lane to the basket.
Despite some missed free throws, the Utes went on a 7-0 run to tie the game at 43. After some back and forth play, Stanford hit a three-pointer to take a 48-45 advantage, but Bealer fired one back to tie everything up again.
Stanford scored a pair of baskets to give itself a four point cushion, then Kuzma hit another three-pointer to make it a one point game, and Bonam gave the Utes a 54-52 lead after he hit his own three.
Stanford kept trying to edge into Utah’s lead, but Bonam didn’t let that happen — he wanted to keep a promise he made to his teammates before the game.
“I was telling them I’m going to go out like Kobe,” Bonam said.
Next up, Utah will compete in the Pac-12 Tournament.