Second-Half Dominance Leads Cal Past Utah
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – California exploded for 50 second-half points to earn a Pac-12 Conference road win over Utah, 72-63, at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Saturday night.
The Golden Bears (7-8, 2-6 Pac-12) outscored the Utes by 21 points over the final 20 minutes of action and picked up their first conference regular-season victory away from home since Feb. 19, 2020 at Washington State. Grant Anticevich paced Cal with 14 points, 10 of which came after halftime on 4-of-4 shooting from the field. Makale Foreman (12 points), Jarred Hyder (11 points) and Andre Kelly (11 points) also scored in double figures.
Cal's 50-point second half came on 58.6 percent shooting (17-of-29) from the field. The Bears improved to 6-0 on the season when scoring 70 points or more, and did so without leading scorer Matt Bradley, who missed his fourth straight game with an injury. Defensive intensity by the Bears played a key factor as well; they held the Utes to 32 percent shooting (8-of-25) in the second half.
Utah (5-6, 2-5 Pac-12) was led by a game-high 26 points from Timmy Allen.
HOW IT HAPPENED
The Bears' Saturday night started in less-than-ideal fashion, as they were held without a field goal for more than three minutes while Utah went on an 8-0 run to take a 15-5 lead with 11:39 remaining in the first half. Cal scored just seven points over the first 10 minutes of play as it struggled to find its rhythm offensively. A layup by Joel Brown cut the Utah lead to 24-13 at the final media timeout of the first half. A few late shots by the Bears, including a layup by Hyder with five seconds to go, kept Cal within striking distance, 34-22 at halftime.
Cal's shooting stroke came alive to begin the second half, as the Bears scored the first seven points and closed within six, 38-32, with just over 16 minutes to play. A steal by Brown, followed by an assist to Lars Thiemann for a layup, gave Cal its first lead of the game, 43-42 at the 12:37 mark. Kuany Kuany – playing in his first game since Jan. 7 – knocked down a 3-pointer on Cal's next possession as part of a 14-2 run.
The Bears kept the momentum rolling from there, making seven consecutive field goals to take their then-biggest lead, 58-48, on back-to-back baskets from Anticevich. Cal was able to answer every Ute basket down the stretch and held Utah scoreless over the final 2:06 of the contest.
Cal returns home for a matchup with UCLA on Thursday, Jan. 21 at 6 p.m. PST inside of Haas Pavilion. The game will be televised on ESPNU.
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