Carlson scores career-best 27 points; Utah routs UTSA 91-70

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SALT LAKE CITY – Branden Carlson scored a career-high 27 points, grabbed eight rebounds and blocked four shots as Utah rolled past UTSA 91-70 on Tuesday night for its fifth straight win.

Carlson was 10 of 14 from the floor and made 6 of 7 free throws. Marco Anthony added 16 points and 10 rebounds for his first double-double of the season for Utah (9-2). Anthony also had four assists. Gabe Madsen also had 16 points and Lazar Stefanovic had 10 for the Utes, who shot 52% (36 of 69) overall.

Utah held UTSA (5-5) to 38% shooting from the floor and has kept opponents under 40% in 9 of 10 games this season.

Japhet Medor scored 23 points to lead the Roadrunners.

The game was tied at 29, but Utah’s 10-5 surge to close the first half gave it a 39-34 halftime lead. The Utes opened the second with Carlson’s dunk that sparked a 20-5 run to stretch the lead to 59-39 with 14:19 remaining. Carlson had eight points and Anthony added six during the span.

Utah faces rival BYU in Provo on Saturday. UTSA hosts Bethune-Cookman on Sunday.

Sam Houston knocks off Utah 65-55, 2nd P5 win for Bearkats

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SALT LAKE CITY — Qua Grant scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half and Sam Houston State picked up its second win over a Power 5 opponent, leading Utah virtually wire-to-wire in a 65-55 win on Thursday night.

The Bearkats (4-0) beat Oklahoma 52-51 in their opener, their first win over a Power 5 program since 2009.

Gabe Madsen’s 3-pointer gave Utah a 3-2 lead but Done Powers hit back-to-back jumpers and Tristan Ikpe nailed a 3-pointer and Sam Houston never trailed again. Jaden Ray and Cameron Huefner hit 3s and Grant had a layup and it was 21-8 in the middle of the first half.

Sam Houston led 27-23 at the half and Utah got as close as one midway through but could never claim the lead.

The Bearkats, who entered the game shooting 50% from the foul line, went 12 of 14 in the second half, including 5 of 6 in the final 67 seconds.

When Lazar Stefanovic hit a jumper with 4:27 to play, Utah was within 53-51 but Grant scored the next 10 Sam Houston points and the lead was 63-53 with less than a minute to go.

The Bearkats only shot 39% but put up 16 more shots thanks to a 41-31 rebounding advantage and 16 Utah turnovers. No other player hit double figures.

Rollie Worster led Utah (3-1) with 14 points and Stefanovic had 12. The Utes shot 43.5% with two more 3-pointers but were just 8 of 16 from the line.

This game was a campus game of the Fort Myers Tip-Off. The Utes face Georgia Tech ion Monday and Sam Houston faces Northern Illinois on Tuesday n Fort Myers, Flordia.

Utah hires Utah State’s Craig Smith as basketball coach

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SALT LAKE CITY – Utah has hired Utah State’s Craig Smith as its men’s basketball coach.

The school announced Saturday that Smith will replace Larry Krystkowiak, who was fired this month.

Smith turned Utah State into one of the nation’s best mid-major programs in a short span, leading the Aggies to the NCAA Tournament twice in three years. Utah State won the Mountain West Conference Tournament title in 2020, but didn’t get a chance to play in the NCAA Tournament because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Utah State won the MWC Tournament again this season and won 20 games before losing 65-53 to Texas Tech in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.

Smith has been an adept recruiter in Logan, bringing in players like Sam Merrill, now with the NBA’s Boston Celtics, and Portuguese big man Neemias Queta.

He previously coached four seasons at South Dakota before being hired by Utah State in 2018.

Utah State fired Krystkowiak on March 16 after he went 183-139 during 10 seasons in Salt Lake City.

Utah lets go of coach Larry Krystkowiak after 10 seasons

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SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Utes have let go of basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak after 10 seasons and a 183-139 record.

Utah director of athletics Mark Harlan announced the decision Tuesday, saying in a release that “ultimately, our program needs a new voice, a new vision and a new leader who can build upon Larry’s foundation and lead us to greater heights in the years ahead.”

Harlan said Utah will start searching for a new coach immediately. The Utes finished 12-13 this season.

Krystkowiak took over the program in 2011 and led Utah to two NCAA Tournament appearances. The Utes won 27 games in 2015-16 with a squad that included Jakob Poeltl and Kyle Kuzma.

“Larry has always been dedicated to our student-athletes, to our university and to the Salt Lake City community, and I am grateful for his decade of service to the University of Utah,” Harlan said.

Before Utah, Krystkowiak spent two seasons as the coach at Montana, where he went 42-20 and led the Grizzlies to the NCAA Tournament both seasons.

A standout player at Montana, Krystkowiak was taken in the second round of the 1986 NBA draft by Chicago. He played in the league for nine years with San Antonio, Milwaukee, Utah, Orlando, Chicago and the Los Angeles Lakers.

Duarte voted Pac-12 player of year, Mobley is the newcomer

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Oregon’s Chris Duarte is The Associated Press player of the year in the Pac-12 Conference and Southern California’s Evan Mobley is the newcomer of the year.

Southern California’s Andy Enfield was chosen as Pac-12 coach of the year by a panel of writers who cover the conference. Results of the voting were released Tuesday.

Duarte, a senior guard from the Dominican Republic, was the Pac-12’s third-leading scorer at 17.3 points per game while leading the Ducks to their second straight Pac-12 regular-season title. He also averaged 4.8 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.9 steals per game.

Mobley was a dominant force during his freshman year, averaging 16.1 points per game while leading the Pac-12 with 8.4 rebounds per game. The 7-footer also led the conference with 2.8 blocked shots per game and was third in shooting percentage at 58%.

Enfield’s team had been picked to finish sixth in the Pac-12 but he brought USC to within a half-game of its first regular-season title since 1985. Led by Mobley, the Trojans finished the regular season 21-6 and were 15-5 in Pac-12 play.

The 2021 AP All-Pac-12 team, with players listed alphabetically with name, school, height, weight, class and hometown (“u-” denotes unanimous selections):

FIRST TEAM

u-Chris Duarte, Oregon, 6-6, 190, Sr, Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic

u-Evan Mobley, USC, 7-0, 215, Fr, Murrieta, California

u-McKinley Wright IV, Colorado, 6-0, 196, Sr, North Robbinsdale, Minnesota

Remy Martin, Arizona State, 6-0, 175, Sr, Chatsworth, California

Oscar da Silva, Stanford, 6-9, 230, Sr, Munich, Germany

SECOND TEAM

James Akinjo, Arizona, 6-1, 185, Jr, Oakland, California

Timmy Allen, Utah, 6-6, 205, Jr, Mesa, Arizona

Ethan Thompson, Oregon State, 6-5, 195, Sr, Los Angeles

Eugene Omoruyi, Oregon, 6-6, 235, Sr, Rexdale, Ontario

Isaac Bonton, Washington State, 6-3, 190, Sr, Portland, Oregon

Coach of the year – Andy Enfield, Southern California

Player of the year – Chris Duarte, Oregon

Newcomer of the year – Evan Mobley, Southern California

Horne, Wright lead Colorado to 80-62 rout of No. 19 USC

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BOULDER, Colo. — Jeriah Horne hit a career-best six 3-pointers on his way to 24 points, McKinley Wright IV had a career-high 14 assists and Colorado routed No. 19 Southern California 80-62 on Thursday night to sweep the season series.

Wright added 15 points for the Buffaloes (18-7, 12-6 Pac-12), who have won six straight against the Trojans (19-5, 13-4).

Already the school’s career leader in assists, Wright and his speed gave the Trojans fits all evening. His 14 assists tied for the second-most in program history. The record is 15 by Jose Winston against Coppin State on Jan. 2, 2001.

In an efficient performance, Colorado had 20 assists on 27 baskets.

The loss was a blow to USC, which fell a half-game behind rival UCLA (17-5, 13-3) for first place in the Pac-12 race. The Trojans are chasing their first regular-season conference title since 1984-85, when they shared the crown. Their last outright league championship was in 1960-61.

Talented USC freshman Evan Mobley had 13 points. He entered the game averaging 16.8.

Mobley’s brother, Isaiah, returned to the court after missing a game with a strained right calf. He had two points.

Behind the shooting of Horne, the Buffaloes opened a 17-point lead midway through the second half but saw the Trojans make one final run and cut it to 10. The Buffs weathered the storm and Wright helped wrap it up from the free throw line with a limited number of fans in attendance.

BIG PICTURE

USC: Could be the end of USC’s run in the Top 25. The team shot 38% from the floor.

Colorado: The Buffaloes have 21 wins over ranked opponents under coach Tad Boyle. His teams have accounted for 32% of the program’s wins over ranked foes (65) since 1949-50.

ON THE MARK

The Buffaloes are challenging single-season Pac-12 and national records with their stellar free throw shooting. After going 14 of 15 from the line Thursday, they’re shooting 83%. The conference record for a season is 78.6% by Arizona in 2003-04 and the NCAA Division I mark is 82.2% by Harvard in 1983-84.

Colorado’s best-ever mark stands at 77.8% in 2010-11.

TECHNICAL TALK

Wright was called for a technical late in the first half. Horne and Eli Parquet picked up technical fouls in the second.

UP NEXT

USC: At Utah on Saturday. The Trojans beat the Utes 64-46 on Jan. 2.

Colorado: Host UCLA on Saturday. The Buffaloes lost 65-62 at UCLA on Jan. 2.