Men’s basketball defeats Utah, advances to Pac-12 top three

Stanford men’s basketball (9-7, 4-2 Pac-12) beat the Utah Utes (12-5, 3-3 Pac-12) in the final minute in Sunday’s game — a victorious return to Maples Pavilion on the heels of an upset win against No. 8 Arizona (12-4, 3-2 Pac-12).

Junior forward Maxime Raynaud earned his fifth double-double this year with 20 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks. Senior forward Brandon Angel added 16 points and graduate student guard Michael Jones 15. Senior guards Gabe Madsen and Deivon Smith led on Utah’s side with 16 points each.  

The Cardinal entered with a sluggish start and Smith led Utah to an 8-2 lead in the first three minutes. Utah sought an early substantial lead, but the Cardinal settled in and a 3-pointer from Angel tied the game 10-10 at around 15 minutes.

After the early offensive swing by both teams, the rest of the first half was a back-and-forth battle. Scores in the paint from Raynaud, timely 3-pointers from sophomore guard Benny Gealer and Jones and several trips to the free-throw line by freshman guard Kanaan Carlyle kept the game close.  

The highlight of the first half came from a putback dunk by Carlyle off of a missed layup, which would have tied the game with five minutes remaining in the half. However, the dunk was waved off due to basket interference. A few possessions later, a floater from Angel tied the game at 29-29 with 3:34 left in the half. To close out the half, the Cardinal were able to head into the locker room with a 34-32 lead thanks to an and-1 layup from Raynaud with 5.3 seconds remaining.

Stanford received a major blow early in the second half, after Carlyle was forced to exit the game following a collision with Utah’s Smith. Freshman guard Andrej Stojakovic checked into the game as a result of Carlyle’s injury and immediately rose to the occasion with a 3-pointer that created the largest lead of the game so far, 47-39.

A few minutes later, with 10:51 remaining in the game, Stojakovic drained another 3-pointer to extend Stanford’s lead to 55-43.

It was an upward trajectory for the Cardinal when Carlyle was cleared to re-enter the game and proceeded to nail a 3-pointer.

But Stanford was not able to pull away from Utah, as graduate student guard Cole Bajema drilled a 3-pointer to cut the lead to 60-57 with 5:40 remaining.

Stanford continued its steady play on offense, however, and maintained a slight edge down the stretch. Free throws from Jones iced the game with a 79-73 win for Stanford.

With this crucial conference win for the Cardinal, they moved up to third place — sitting only behind Oregon (13-3, 5-0 Pac-12) and Arizona State (10-6, 4-1 Pac-12). 

The Cardinal continue their homestand with another conference matchup against Washington State (12-5, Pac-12 3-3). Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m. PT on Thursday.

Stanford hopes graduate student guard Jared Bynum will return injury for its next game. Head coach Jerod Haase said Bynum’s injury status fluctuates “day-to-day” during the postgame press conference.