On the plus side, Stanford had 10 blocks, six of them in the first eight minutes. Overall, the Cardinal “played their tails off,” head coach Jerod Haase.
It still wasn’t enough against a Utah team that on Thursday showed why it’s the best 3-point shooting team in the Pac-12.
The Utes gave head coach Larry Krystkowiak his first win at Maples Pavilion in six tries, pulling out a 70-66 squeaker. It was Utah’s first win there since 1971.
The Utes (10-8, 4-2 Pac-12) hit 9 of 14 from distance, including three by Sedrick Barefield down the stretch. Meanwhile, the Cardinal (9-10, 2-5) were 4-for-17.
“Obviously, the way they shot from the 3-point line was the difference in the game,” Haase said. “Some of them were great offensive plays by them, and some were minor lapses by us.”
KZ Okpala returned to the Stanford lineup after missing a game with back spasms and scored a game-high 22 points, but he called his performance “so-so.”
Daejon Davis scored 17 points and did a fine job guarding Barefield for most of the night.
“He’s a great player, one of the better guards in our league,” Davis said.
He thought the Cardinal could have pulled out the win despite the 3-point disparity “if we get a couple of stops to end the half and then stops at the end of the game.”
Starting guard Cormac Ryan, probably the team’s best outside shooter, sat out the game with ankle problems.
Barefield scored 18, and the Utes had 11 from Donnie Tillman and 10 from Parker Van Dyke. Jayce Johnson had 11 rebounds, one fewer than Stanford’s Josh Sharma.
Van Dyke’s driving layup put Utah ahead to stay at 65-63 with 55 seconds left. Okpala made one of two foul shots, but Barefield made two for a three-point cushion with 37 seconds left.
Sharma had a great chance at a putback, but the ball rolled off the rim. He made two free throws, cutting the lead to 67-66. In the final 30 seconds, Barefield sank two more foul shots, and Stanford’s Bryce Wills missed a driving layup before Johnson hit a free throw with 15 seconds left.
“We have to fundamentally get better with our passing and catching, with our cuts, with our screens,” Haase said. Defensively, the team needs to better contest the 3-pointers, he said.
“We do need a wider array of offensive threats,” he said. “As good as KZ is and as good as Daejon is, we’re going to need guys to step up and play. When that happens, it’s going to be a pretty fun deal.”
This post was originally posted at https://www.sfgate.com/collegesports/article/In-rare-win-at-Maples-Utah-holds-off-Stanford-13560335.php.