SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Runnin’ Utes are rolling right now.
Backed by a career-high tying 27 points from Branden Carlson along with double-doubles from the big man and Marco Anthony saw the Utah men’s basketball team move to 5-0 in Pac-12 play Thursday night after defeating Oregon State 79-60 at the Huntsman Center.
The 5-0 start in Pac-12 play for Utah is the best start to league play since joining the conference in 2011-12 and the best start to conference play since 2008-09 when Utah was a member of the Mountain West. The Runnin’ Utes are now 21-18 all-time against the Beavers and 10-3 when playing inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
Utah (12-4, 5-0 Pac-12) led wire-to-wire Thursday night against the Beavers, who got as close as 44-43 out of the gates in the second half before an 8-0 run gave the Runnin’ Utes enough separation to close out the game. The defense also showed up when it was needed most, holding Oregon State to just 2-of-7 from the field in the final 7:00 minutes of the game
The first half saw the Utes take and early 15-6 edge at the 14:13 media break but like the second half, Oregon State (7-8, 1-3 Pac-12) battled back to get within 29-23. However, Carlson and Gabe Madsen combined for 23 of Utah’s 42 points in the first 20 minutes of action to give the Utes a 42-34 edge heading into the break.
Carlson led all scorers with his 27 points and season-high 11 boards for his eighth-career double-double while Anthony chipped in with one of his own, posting 14 points with a season-high 12 rebounds on 5-of-8 shooting. Madsen added 13 points for Utah to go with Lazar Stefanovic’s 13 points as well. Rollie Worster flirted with a double-double of his own, scoring six points with eight assists – six of which occurred in the first half.
The Utes outscored Oregon State from the free-throw line, knocking down 18-of-20 while the Beavers shot just 4-of-5 from the line. Utah converted 9 offensive boards into 13 points … Utah is now 12-0 when leading at the half and 12-2 when outrebounding its opponents (37-30).
The Utes wrap up their short home stint with the Ducks of Oregon on Saturday, Jan. 7.