College Basketball News

Suddenly soaring Stanford travels to Utah


Can Utah rediscover its offense when the Utes host rejuvenated Stanford in Salt Lake City on Thursday?

That’s a valid concern following a 68-56 loss to Oregon on Saturday. Utah saw a three-game winning streak end amid one of its worst offensive performances of the season. The Utes shot a season-low 28 percent from the field. Poor shooting offset a season-low six turnovers and allowed the Ducks to sweep the season series.

Utah (15-8, 8-4 Pac-12) began struggling offensively after losing starting shooting guard Gabe Madsen to a lower-leg injury early in the first half. Madsen ranks second in scoring for the Utes, averaging 11.7 points per game. He shoots 37.3 percent from 3-point range and his 150 3-point attempts are second-most among Pac-12 players — trailing only Arizona guard Kerr Kriisa.

“Certainly, losing a guy like that doesn’t help the equation, but we have to have a next-guy-up mentality,” said Utah coach Craig Smith.

Madsen’s status for Thursday is uncertain. If he isn’t ready to play, Lazar Stefanovic will likely get the start in his place. Stefanovic scored 14 points on 5-for-13 shooting and made four 3-pointers against Oregon.

Stanford will likely offer a better-than-expected test for a shorthanded Utah team.

The Cardinal (9-12, 3-7) are riding a four-game winning streak after starting 0-7 in Pac-12 play. They’re averaging 71.3 points per game over their last four contests and have held two of their last four opponents under 50 points.

Stanford’s most dominating performance in the stretch came against archrival California. The Cardinal downed the Golden Bears 75-46 on Saturday behind dominant efforts from Maxime Raynaud and Harrison Ingram. The duo combined for 29 points.

The Cardinal pulled away behind a 19-7 run early in the second half and led by as many as 37 points after halftime.

“We got things rolling in the second half,” Stanford coach Jerrod Hasse said.

Utah has won two straight over Stanford dating back to last season. The Utes beat the Cardinal 71-66 in January behind 20 points from Stefanovic and 18 from Branden Carlson.

— Field Level Media

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