SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak was watching a college game Wednesday when his teenage son Cam pointed out the empty stands on TV. The conversation turned to how grateful they were to not have those issues.
The No. 11-ranked Utes were energized by a sold-out home crowd Thursday night and overcame a slow start to run away from Stanford 75-59 for the 16th consecutive win inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
“For these young men, that’s the experience they need to have,” Krystkowiak said. “There’s a lot of pride from years past and it’s just fun to be part of getting it kick-started again.”
Delon Wright scored a game-high 15 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead Utah to victory. Dallin Bachynski finished with 13 points, while Jordan Loveridge and Brekkott Chapman added 12 for the Utes (19-4, 9-2 Pac-12), who opened the second half with a 15-2 run to cruise past the Cardinal. The run was highlighted by seven consecutive points from Loveridge.
Anthony Brown led Stanford (16-8, 7-5) with 15 points, and Marcus Allen scored a career-high 13, including 10 in the first half.
“That’s what we do best, play good team defense and try to take away a team’s best player,” Wright said.
Utah closed the first half with a 6-0 run, including two buzzer-beating baskets from Bachynski, to take a 33-27 lead into halftime. Stanford led 10-4 out of the gate with the help of four offensive rebounds, but Utah responded with a 17-5 run sparked by eight straight points from Chapman.
“”The first half was kind of punch-counterpunch. We couldn’t really get any momentum,” Krystkowiak said. “The second half, it started with getting some stops and getting out in transition. The motion offense in the second half, we tweaked a few things. Those were most of our adjustments at halftime because we were doing a pretty good job defensively.
“I thought we were aggressive. I thought we maybe had a little bit more gas in our tank, pushing in transition and got to the foul line early. That kind of opened it up.”
Stanford: Starting guard Chasson Randle entered averaging 20.3 points per game, but was held scoreless in the first half. Randle, the school’s career leader in 3-point baskets, was 0-for-4 from behind the arc. His first field goal came with 6:23 remaining in the game. He finished with 10 points. “They just really paid a lot of attention to him. Their defense was very sound. It was just one of those games where you give them credit for how they defended and you move on,” Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins said. … The Cardinal entered shooting 45.0 percent from the field, but were held to 37.7 percent. … Starting center Stefan Nastic fouled out with just seven points after averaging 13.8 the rest of the season.
Utah: The Utes have not allowed more than 69 points in 22 consecutive games. They entered as one of five teams in the nation not to allow more than 72 points all season. … Point guard Brandon Taylor scored just five points after coming into the game second on the team with 11.1 points per game. However, he dished out a game-high eight assists.
The Utes control their own destiny in their chase for the first Pac-12 title in school history. The team posted a 17-37 conference record in its first three years in the league and failed to finish higher than eighth in those three. Utah has seven games remaining, including the three best league records in No. 7 Arizona (20-3, 8-2), Oregon (18-7, 8-4) and Oregon State (16-8, 7-5). Utah will win the league if it wins out after not having won a conference title of any kind since 2009.
Stanford: at Colorado on Sunday.
Utah: hosts California on Sunday.
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