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Utah holds off Stanford to stay unbeaten in conference

Dec 31, 2022; Stanford, California, USA; Stanford Cardinal forward Max Murrell (10) dribbles against Utah Utes guard Rollie Worster (25) during the first half at Maples Pavilion. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Lazar Stefanovic scored a career high-tying 20 points and Branden Carlson added 18 to eclipse the 1,000-point plateau, lifting visiting Utah to a 71-66 victory over Stanford on Saturday.

Stefanovic made 6 of 7 shots — including all three from 3-point range — and 5 of 6 from the foul line.

Carlson, who entered the game with 984 points, drained 7 of 12 shots from the floor and 4 of 5 attempts from the free-throw line.

Marco Anthony and Gabe Madsen each scored 10 points for the Utes (11-4, 4-0 Pac-12), who shot 57.5 percent from the floor (23 of 40) to improve to 4-0 in conference play for the first time since 2014-15.

Spencer Jones scored 16 points for the Cardinal (5-9, 0-4), who nearly overcame a 16-point deficit in the second half before losing for the sixth time in their last nine games.

Max Murrell sank a 3-pointer on consecutive possessions to trim Utah’s lead to 60-54 with 3:21 remaining in the second half. Anthony drained two free throws to temporarily halt the momentum before Jones made a pair of baskets and Murrell added a layup to pull Stanford within two points with 2:15 to play.

Madsen made two free throws and Stefanovic added four more before the Cardinal trimmed their deficit to 69-66 following a layup from Isa Silva with 12 seconds remaining in the second half. Madsen calmly made two free throws to essentially seal the win.

Utah held a 30-23 lead at intermission and scored nine of the first 11 points of the second half. Stanford treaded water before Madsen drilled a 3-pointer to give the Utes a 49-33 lead with 11:20 remaining in the game.

Carlson made 4 of 7 shots to score 11 points and stake Utah to its halftime lead. Stefanovic sank 3 of 4 shots to score eight points for the Utes, who took advantage of Stanford’s 2-for-12 performance from 3-point range in the first half.

–Field Level Media