SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Runnin’ Utes are finally back on the winning track.
Backed by a career-high night from Branden Carlson, who scored 28 points, the Utes snapped a 3-game losing skid with a 77-63 victory over Washington State Thursday night at the Huntsman Center.
Carlson made 11 of 12 shots from the field, becoming the first Ute since Britton Johnsen to score at least 28 points and shoot at least 90-percent from the field in a game 21 years ago.
The name of the game in the first half between the Runnin’ Utes (13-7, 6-3 Pac-12) and Cougars was who could answer the other team’s scoring runs and make a stop. Utah started the game knocking down its first five shot attempts to take an early 11-8 lead before going ahead 25-17 at the 7:23 break thanks to a 9-0 run. WSU answered a few minutes later with a 7-0 spurt of its own to tie things up at 29-29 before Carlson went on 10-2 run himself against the Cougars – which gave the Utes a 39-31 edge heading into halftime.
Utah saw much more balanced scoring in the second half with Washington State (9-11, 4-5 Pac-12) honing in on Carlson. As a team, the Runnin’ Utes saw five different players with seven-plus points in the second frame alone. The Utes also shot 53.6-percent from the field in the second half before finishing the night shooting a .554 clip as a team.
Rollie Worster had a solid night on the floor, scoring 14 points with four rebounds and seven assists while Gabe Madsen chipped in with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting from 3-point range. Lazar Stefanovic just missed the double-digit mark, posting nine points with four boards and three dimes.
Utah next hosts Washington Saturday night at 6:00 p.m.