Despite only being down by six at halftime, Stanford men’s basketball (16-8, 7-5 Pac-12) allowed the No. 11 Utah Utes (19-4, 9-2) to pull out of reach quickly in the second half in a 75-59 defeat at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday.
Utah came out aggressively in the second half. The Utes controlled the pace of the game, using their defensive intensity to get out in transition. Meanwhile, the Cardinal struggled on offense, finishing the night 20-of-53 on shooting.
Chasson Randle, a leading candidate for Pac-12 player of the year, had a disappointing night. He went scoreless in the first half, including 0-of-4 from beyond the arc. Head coach Johnny Dawkins credits the Utah defense for limiting Randle’s effectiveness.
“They just really paid a lot of attention to him,” Dawkins said. “Their defense was very sound.”
The Utes threw many different looks on the fifth-year senior. Utah’s 6-foot-5 guard Delon Wright bothered him with his size, and the Utah defense collapsed on Randle. The forwards hedged on nearly every screen, and the strong-side players would always force him towards the sideline, where they could easily contain his drives toward the rim.
Stanford was shorthanded on the night. Junior forward Rosco Allen, who has started 16 games for the Card, is out indefinitely with a back injury.
The Cardinal jumped out to a 10-4 lead after a sloppy start to the game. Dawkins started out with a starting five of Randle, Anthony Brown, Stefan Nastic, freshman Michael Humphrey and Marcus Allen, the Cardinal’s eighth different starting line of the year.
The chemistry was visibly lacking on the offensive end. Stanford was missing the characteristic energy that moves its offense, particularly in the players’ cuts, and at times looked out of position. Utah’s defense was, on the other hand, rolling; the Utes would double out on the perimeter and collapse the paint quickly against Stanford’s penetration.
The Utes took advantage of the momentum created by their defense and went on a 17-5 run to take a 25-19 lead. Freshman Brekkot Chapman had 8 points during the run. They scored the last 6 points of the first half and then came out explosively in the second half. This marked Utah’s 16th consecutive win at home.
In his postgame conference, head coach Larry Krystokwiak added: “I thought we were aggressive. I thought we maybe had a little bit more gas in our tank, pushing it in transition.”
Stanford is now giving up an average of over 75 points a contest in its last seven games.
The Cardinal hope to get back to their winning ways in their last seven games of the regular season. They play at Colorado on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Boulder.
Contact Irving Rodriguez at irodriguez ‘at’ stanford.edu.