After defeating the Colorado Buffaloes 78-69, the Runnin’ Utes will head to Northern California with the motivation to extend their win-streak to three games as they take on the 9-9 Stanford Cardinal.
With the Utes finally breaking their .500 record, they’ll have extra motivation to improve that record and take down their conference foes. After playing their past three games at the Huntsman Center, the trip to California will test this team looking to stay in the win column.
The Utes did a great job in the first half against Colorado. They shot efficiently, with 45 percent overall from the field and an unbelievable 61 percent from behind the arc. On the other side of the ball, the Utes completely shut down the Buffaloes in the first half, only allowing 30 percent overall from the field and 14 percent from behind the arc. In the first 20 minutes, the Utes forced 11 turnovers off of nine steals and 17 fast break points.
In the beginning of the second half, the game followed a similar script. The Utes started the second half on an 8-2 run, extending their lead to 28 points. Colorado outscored Utah 50-37 in the second half and the Buffaloes were able to cut the lead down to 10 later in the half, but with freshman Both Gach’s clutch three-pointers, the team was able to seal the win.
Freshman Timmy Allen registered his first double-double of his career, scoring 21 points while pulling down 10 rebounds. Allen has displayed consistency for a while now and has posted double-digit scoring efforts for the seventh straight game. While doing so, Allen has maintained aggression in the paint as he has grabbed nine or more rebounds in the past three games.
Senior Sedrick Barefield continued to succeed as well, scoring a game-high 22 points on 7/15 shooting. He has also managed to score in double-digits seven times out of the last eight games. Overall, Barefield posted double-digit scoring efforts in 13 games this season, and has displayed consistency as a veteran of the team.
Overall, the Utes played well throughout the entire game. Coach Larry Krystkowiak has been nothing but proud of his team.
“It’s never going to be perfect,” Krystkowiak said. “Right up until the last four minutes of the first half, it was really solid and we played with a tremendous mind of energy defensively. We had a couple different zone concepts going, flying around, we had 18 deflections in one half which we have never had all season.”
Despite losing to both Kansas and UNC, Stanford’s 9-9 record should not be overlooked. They have a lot of experience facing elite teams and almost knocked off No. 9 Kansas, losing by just six points. Coming off of a win against Washington State on the road, this team is more than desperate to start a winning streak as they have the utmost confidence to do so.
The Utes and Cardinal are set to tip off at 7 p.m. MT on Thursday, Jan. 24 in the Maples Pavilion.