SALT LAKE CITY—The Utah Utes (16-5, 5-3 Pac-12) got some payback against the California Bears by beating them at the Huntsman Center, 73-64 (14-7, 4-4 Pac-12).
The first half could have been split into two quarters. Dakarai Tucker sunk his signature corner three to put the Utes up to a strong 24-11 lead, followed by a Cal timeout. Cal essentially reversed the results of the half over the final ten minutes, outscoring the Utes 23-11.
Energy woes looked to seep into the second half when Cal started on a 6-0 run and Utah’s first two possessions ended in turnovers. Instead of allowing Cal to slip away, the Utes fired up a 10-0 run, snatching back momentum.
Cal continued to fight in the second half, crunching the lead down to as little as four at 61-57 with 7:03 to play. Utah answered back with a 9-0 run, holding Cal scoreless from the floor for 4:21, and igniting the Huntsman Center crowd. The Utes never relinquished momentum en route to their fifth conference win.
Jakob Poeltl scored 21 points, besting Cal’s Kameron Rooks down low, who scored just two points.. Kyle Kuzma and Brandon Taylor also scored in double-digits for the Utes, with 15 points apiece. Cal’s Jaylen Brown led all scorers with 27 points for the Bears.
The Utes are now a half game behind Oregon and Washington, who are tied for the conference lead. Utah will have a chance to complete payback for both losses in the Bay Area on Saturday against Stanford. Tipoff against the Cardinal will be at 3:00. Pregame coverage will commence at 1:00 on ESPN700.
Larry Krystkowiak Postgame:
Jakob Poeltl Postgame:
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