Utah basketball: 'Resilient' Utes upset Stanford in final home game, 58-57

Published: Saturday, Feb. 25 2012 11:48 p.m. MST

Utah's #5 Kareem Storey, right, defends Stanford's #33 Dwight Powell as Utah and Stanford play Saturday, Feb. 25, 2012 in the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City Utah. Utah won 58-57.

Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Before taking the court Saturday, Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak encouraged his team to leave an exclamation point on the home portion of its schedule.

Mission accomplished.

Utah upset Stanford 58-57 in a back-and-forth thriller featuring 16 lead changes and 10 ties.

"The 'resilient' word keeps popping into my head," said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak. "We just kept battling."

The victory snapped an eight-game skid for the Utes (6-22, 3-13), who finish the regular season next week at Oregon State and Oregon.

Chris Hines and Jason Washburn, the lone holdovers from last season on the active roster, led the way. Hines finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Washburn added 17 points, six blocks and three steals.

Hines hit the game-winning shot on a 3-pointer with 27 seconds remaining. Stanford (19-10, 9-8) had a chance to pull even with eight seconds to play, but Josh Owens missed the second of two free throws. Washburn grabbed the rebound for Utah and the Utes held on to claim the victory.

"I don't think there's a much bigger exclamation point than that," Washburn said of the home finale.

It went right down to the wire.

After Washburn missed a free throw with five seconds to go, Stanford's Chasson Randall took the rebound and dribbled downcourt before launching a long 3-pointer. It bounced off the rim and into the hands of Dijon Farr as time expired.

"It hit the glass, hit the rim, and ran out," Washburn said of Randall's attempt to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. "The feeling can't be described really."

Hines, who defended Randall on the play, understated that he was happy Randall missed it.

The junior's main thoughts were with the Huntsman Center crowd.

"They have been here despite us losing. I think the fans really helped by being here," Hines said of the support. "... I wanted to have this (win) for the fans."

Krystkowiak called it a "great ending" and was obviously pleased with how the Utes kept fighting.

He wasn't alone.

"Our team showed a lot of resiliency," Washburn said. "Winning close games is a learning process. It takes a lot of poise and a lot of focus."

Krystokowiak acknowledged being a bit speechless after Utah's first win since topping Arizona State on Jan. 21.

"It was really neat seeing all the emotion and the validation for all the hard work from everybody," he said of the postgame scene in the locker room.

The Utes opened the second half with baskets by Washburn and Farr to take their biggest lead at 38-33. Stanford, meanwhile, got off to a slow start in the second half. The Cardinal didn't score until Stefan Nastic made a layup with 14:33 left to play.

Stanford used the shot to usher in a 12-5 run and regain the lead at 45-43. Utah answered with scores from Farr and Washburn to pull back ahead. It stayed that way until Anthony Brown hit a 3-pointer for Stanford to put the Cardinal on top again at 48-47 with 5:35 remaining.

The stretch run proved to be a prize fight with the lead being swapped seven times over the final four minutes.

Hines and Washburn had 11 points apiece as the Utes held a 34-33 halftime edge. The score was tied five times and the lead changed hands four times in the first half.

Washburn scored all of Utah's points as the Utes jumped out to an early 6-4 advantage.

Stanford responded with a 12-3 run, however, to take the lead and control of the game — for a while anyhow.

Utah was held scoreless for 3:38 during Stanford's outburst and trailed by 10 at one point.

The Cardinal later had a drought of their own, failing to make a shot from the field for a span of 6:06 as the Utes rallied back into contention and regained the lead. They opened the comeback with eight straight points, fueling a 14-2 run that gave them a 30-27 advantage with just over three minutes to go.

"Give them credit first," said Stanford coach Johnny Dawkins. "I thought they defended during that period of time and got some stops. We didn't execute as well and turned it over too much."

Before the half was complete, though, there was another exchange of leads. A pair of free throws by Javon Dawson capped things off with 58 seconds to go. Utah was 14-of-16 from the line over the first 20 minutes.

In a 68-65 loss at Stanford on Jan. 12, the Utes went 1-for-9 for the game.

GAME NOTES: Utah is now 15-8 against Stanford, including a 9-2 advantage in Salt Lake City. ... The attendance was 8,933. ... The Utes went 6-9 in the Huntsman Center this season. ... Hines tied his career-high with five 3-pointers. His seven rebounds were a career-best. ... Stanford missed its first eight shots from the field in the second half. ... The Utes are 5-1 this season when leading at halftime. ... Randle had a team-high 19 points for the Cardinal. ... Dawson had a career-best three steals as Utah tallied a season-high 10 as a team.

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer

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