3 keys to Utah’s loss to Stanford in the first round of the Pac-12 tournament
Branden Carlson scores a game-high 27 points, but Utah leads only briefly and is bounced early for the second-straight year.
LAS VEGAS — Utah’s football team loves Las Vegas. Utah’s men’s basketball team apparently doesn’t.
The Runnin’ Utes’ run in the Pac-12 tournament didn’t last long, as 10th-seeded Stanford ousted the No. 7 seed 73-62 in a first-round game at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
The Utes led for only 43 seconds early in the contest, fell behind by seven at halftime and never really threatened in the second half in falling in a first-round game for the second-straight year.
Utah, now 17-15, will accept an NIT bid if one comes, coach Craig Smith said Monday, but prospects of that invitation grew dimmer in the bright lights of Las Vegas as Utah suffered its sixth-straight loss.
Utah is now 1-7 in Pac-12 tournament games at T-Mobile Arena and 7-12 in P12 tourney games overall.
Stanford (14-18) will meet No. 2 seed Arizona (25-6) at 7 p.m. MST Thursday in a quarterfinal game.
Here are three keys to Utah’s loss to Stanford at the Pac-12 tournament:
• All-Pac-12 performer Branden Carlson lived up to that billing with 27 points on 9 of 15 shooting for the Utes, but didn’t get much help. Gabe Madsen added 13 points but was just 4 of 13 from the field in his second game back from a high ankle sprain that made him miss every game in February.
• Stanford used its height advantage and better offensive balance effectively to spring the minor upset as a 1.5-point underdog. Four Cardinal players reached double figures, led by Brandon Angel with 16 points. Harrison Ingram added 15.
• The Utes played sluggishly and without purpose the first eight minutes, and fell behind 20-9 before Madsen picked them up with a couple quick baskets. They cut the double-digit Stanford lead to two on another Madsen 3-pointer with about seven minutes left in the half, then went the next four minutes without a field goal to fall back again. The Cardinal led 34-27 at the break.