In a defensive struggle at the Huntsman Center, Utah closed out the nonconference portion of its 2021-22 schedule with a hard-fought 55-50 win over visiting Fresno State.
Here are three keys to the Utes’ win:
• Lahat Thioune and a sticky Utah zone defense kept Fresno State’s Orlando Robinson in check until the final minutes, holding the 18-point scorer to 17 points and nine rebounds. Robinson scored five of his points in the final 41 seconds. Utah held FSU to 33% shooting to improve to 8-4.
• Playing without center Branden Carlson, who is in health and safety protocol for the second-straight game, the Utes struggled to score most of the night. But Riley Battin and David Jenkins Jr. hit back-to-back 3-pointers with around five minutes remaining to give Utah a cushion and the Utes held on.
• Freshman Lazar Stefanovic sank a pair of free throws with 1:06 left to give the Utes a 51-45 lead and finished with nine points for the Utes. Utah made just one field goal in the final four minutes, a dunk by Marco Anthony, but that was enough against the ice-cold Bulldogs.