Runnin’ Utes Drop Game at Stanford, 81-75

The University of Utah men’s basketball team dropped back-to-back games in the Bay Area after losing 81-75 to the Stanford Cardinal on Saturday.

The Runnin’ Utes tried to make it a game down the stretch after hitting a couple of three-pointers, but it wasn’t enough to make a difference in the end result.

Tyler Rawson finished with a game high 20 points, and Kyle Kuzma was next with 18 points and 11 rebounds. David Collette was the only other Utes to score in double digits with 12 points. Utah was 44.1 percent from the floor, and it was 59.1 percent from the free throw line.

The Utes were coming off of a double-overtime loss to Cal on Thursday night, and they had 17 turnovers against both the Golden Bears and the Cardinal.

“It’s a quick turnaround for an afternoon game, but it’s still not an excuse for mental mistakes,” Rawson said.

Opening up the game, Stanford jumped out to a 7-2 lead. However, Stanford’s miscues allowed Utah to tie the game at 8. As the two teams remained competitive for the next few minutes, the lead changed hands a few times. Utah stated to find its footing as it found a five point lead, 23-18. Stanford hit a three-pointer to make it a two point game.

Utah tried to sustain that slim lead, but missed free throws gave the Cardinal the opportunity to tie the game at 24. A Rawson three-pointer gave the Utes a three point edge, and soon enough the Utes lead 31-26.

Utah couldn’t keep the lead for long though, and a couple of baskets and a three-pointer later, Stanford took a 32-31 lead heading into halftime.

Although Kuzma scored first for the Utes in the second half, Stanford responded to Utah’s opening buckets with a pair of three-pointers to take a 38-35 lead.

Utah took a brief 41-40 lead, but Stanford wouldn’t let it last for long as they scored a couple of quick layups to go up by three points again. The Cardinal extended that lead to five points, but a Utah free throw and Rawson three-pointer made it a one point game.

Stanford responded with its own three-pointer, and a layup later the Cardinal led 51-45. Rawson cut the margin in half with another three, and Sedrick Barefield knocked down another three to tie everything up at 51.

As Stanford tried to maintain its grasp on the lead, Utah was getting into rhythm, and it took a four point 58-54 lead. Following a Stanford timeout, the Cardinal got refocused, and it was a tie game again. After each team made another basket Kuzma was whistled for an offensive foul, giving the Cardinal an opportunity to retake the lead.

Stanford then hit a three-pointer to take a 63-60 advantage.Collette took an elbow to the head with about six minutes left in the game, and after some time on the floor he got up by himself, and he returned to the game later on.

Each squad added another basket, but Stanford added an additional three to go up 68-62. The Cardinal worked its way to its largest lead of the night after a layup put it up 70-62. Kuzma knocked down a three to make it a five point game, but as the Utes were playing catch up, the Stanford matched every Utah shot on its way to a six point victory.

“We didn’t do a good job defensively,” said assistant coach Andy Hill on ESPN 700. “We didn’t guard like we’re capable of.

The Utes will host Washington and Washington State this upcoming week at the Huntsman Center.

k.brenneisen@dailyutahchronicle.com

@kbrenneisen