Snow fell hard outside the Huntsman Center on Thursday night, and the No. 9-ranked UCLA Bruins almost fell hard inside it. Emphasis on “almost.” The Runnin’ Utes threw a mighty scare into UCLA as nine-point underdogs, but came up just short, losing 63-58 in Salt Lake City to suffer their seventh-straight loss.
Here are 3 keys to UCLA’s five-point win:
• Johnny Juzang carried the Bruins, scoring 28 points on 9 of 13 shooting, and UCLA made the bigger plays down the stretch to escape Salt Lake City with a victory. The Utes missed a pair of open 3-pointers in the final 20 seconds that would have tied the score, and UCLA’s Jules Bernard sealed it with free throws with 1.5 seconds left.
• Both Gach hit a 3-pointer with 5:23 left to give the Runnin’ Utes a 54-51 lead, but Utah went the next three possessions without scoring and UCLA surged ahead. Lazar Stefanovic’s triple with 2:13 left pulled the Utes within one, but Utah got only a single point on its next three possessions.
• Stefanovic led Utah with 18 points, making four 3-pointers. The Utes finished with 11 3-pointers, as Gach and Gabe Madsen had two apiece.