Utah men’s basketball team beats Cal, ends a two-game skid

Golden Bears suffer their seventh straight loss.

Utah center Branden Carlson (35) goes to the basket as California guard Marsalis Roberson (0) defends during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Lazar Stefanovic had 15 points and six assists, Branden Carlson had his third double-double of the season and Utah beat California 61-46 on Sunday at the Huntsman Center, the Runnin’ Utes’ fifth consecutive win in the series.

Carlson finished with 12 points, 13 rebounds and four blocks for Utah (16-9, 9-5 Pac-12), which snapped a two-game skid.

Jaxon Brenchley converted a three-point play, hit a 3-pointer and made a layup before Stefanovic hit a 3-pointer to cap an 11-0 spurt that made it 22-18 with five minutes left in the first half and Utah never again trailed. Stefanovic made a layup and another 3 as the Runnin’ Utes scored seven of the final nine points in the first half to take a five-point lead into intermission.

Cal didn’t make a field goal for the first six-plus minutes of the second half and Utah ripped off a 12-1 run — including a pair of 3s by Carlson — to make it 41-25 with 14 minutes to play. The Golden Bears trailed by double figures the rest of the way.

California forward Kuany Kuany (13) shoots as Utah guard Lazar Stefanovic (20) defends during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 5, 2023, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Cal (3-20, 2-10) is winless away from home this season (0-8 on the road, 0-2 at neutral sites) and has lost seven consecutive games following back-to-back wins over Colorado on New Year’s Eve and Stanford on Jan. 6. The Golden Bears have scored fewer than 50 points in each of their last four games and are averaging 46.5 over that span.

Lars Thiemann led Cal with 12 points and Kuany Kuany scored 11.

Gabe Madsen, Utah’s second-leading scorer (11.7 per game) on 37.3% shooting from 3-point range, did not play (leg).

Ben Carlson added 11 points, including three 3-pointers, for the Utes.


Utah wraps up a three-game home stand Thursday against Colorado

California returns home to play No. 5 Arizona on Thursday