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3 keys to No. 9 UCLA’s gritty 63-58 win over Utah

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Utah Utes guard Lazar Stefanovic. wearing white, drives on UCLA Bruins guard Jake Kyman

Utah Utes guard Lazar Stefanovic (20) drives on UCLA Bruins guard Jake Kyman (13) in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Jan. 20, 2022.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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.