Utah matched last season’s win total before the calendar turned to 2023 on Saturday, holding off late-charging Stanford 71-66 at Maples Pavilion on New Year’s Eve to improve to 11-4 overall, 4-0 in Pac-12 play.
The Utes went 4-16 in conference games last year, 11-20 overall.
Having defeated Cal 58-43 on Thursday, Utah has now swept its Bay Area road swing for the second straight year.
Here are 3 keys to Utah’s win:
• Lazar Stefanovic scored 20 points and Utah center Branden Carlson added 18 points and became the 41st Ute in program history to surpass the 1,000-point scoring plateau. Stanford made a late run after Utah led by 12 with four minutes left, but the Utes made their free throws to avoid the Cardinal’s upset bid. Utah was 19 of 23 from the free-throw line.
• The Utes led 30-23 at halftime, despite committing eight turnovers in the first 20 minutes. The visitors overcame that issue by shooting 60% (12 of 20) in the first half. Utah finished with 16 turnovers. Utah had only eight turnovers the entire game at Cal.
• Utah’s defense traveled again, holding the Cardinal to 42% shooting on its home floor. Stanford shot 34% in the first half (10 of 29), including at least four airballs. Cal shot 34.1% against the Utes on Thursday.