Playing without senior center Branden Carlson, who was out with a non-COVID illness, the visiting University of Utah Utes were no match for No. 7 UCLA Thursday night and fell 68-49 to the Bruins at Pauley Pavilion in Los Angeles.

UCLA (6-0, 15-2) defeated the Utes for the sixth-straight time as Tyger Campbell, Jaylen Clark and Adem Bona reached double figures in scoring. Sophomore guard Lazar Stefanovic started in Carlson’s place in Utah’s starting lineup, while freshman Keba Keita came off the bench. 

The Utes (5-2, 12-6) fell behind 31-22 at halftime and never really threatened in the second half.

Here are 3 keys to Utah’s second Pac-12 loss in as many games:

• Without Carlson clogging the middle and protecting the rim, the Utes played reasonably well inside but didn’t take care of the ball well (15 turnovers) and made just five 3-pointers. UCLA outscored Utah 36-16 in the paint.

• Utah stopper Marco Anthony did a great job on UCLA’s Jaime Jaquez, especially in the first half when the Bruins’ leading scorer didn’t register a field goal on four shots. Jaquez finished with eight points, but needed 11 shots to get there.

• Coach Craig Smith went deep into his bench with Carlson in the building but not playing, as Mike Saunders, Luka Tarlac and Bostyn Holt saw first-half action. Wilguens Exacte hit two of Utah’s six 3-pointers. Smith substituted liberally in the second half, perhaps resting guys for Saturday’s USC game.