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Utah Utes report card: Big men, coach lead the way past Cal

By Mitchell Tate

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, March 6 2014 8:26 a.m. MST

California's Jordan Mathews, left, and David Kravish, right, try to strip the ball from Utah's Renan Lenz during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, March 5, 2014, in Berkeley, Calif.

Ben Margot, AP

BERKELEY, Calif. — The Utah Utes are winning big games down the stretch of the regular season, including a huge 63-59 victory over Cal Wednesday night.

The win moves the Utes' a Pac-12 Conference record above .500 (9-8) and was also the 20th win of the season.

Here are the grades for the Utah guards, big men and head coach:

Guards

The Utah guards carried the team offensively. In the opening minutes junior Princeton Onwas’ constant driving in the lane set an aggressive tone for the team. His ability to put the ball on the floor and get to the rim also forced Cal starting guard Ricky Kreklow to sit with two early fouls.

Freshman Kenneth Ogbe came off the bench ready to shoot. He provided an offensive spark in the first half by hitting both of his 3-point attempts.

Starting point guard Brandon Taylor made his presence known in the second half. The sophomore from Los Angeles led all Utah scorers with 13 points, including three triples. The first came with 11 minutes remaining to give the Utes a two-point lead, and the last pushed the Utes’ lead to five points with less than a minute to go.

Delon Wright finished the game with less-than-impressive shooting numbers from the field, but he was able to contribute in other ways. The junior from Lawndale, Calif., finished the game one rebound shy of a double-double (11 points, 9 rebounds). More than his rebounding though, Wright controlled the tempo of the game and made some key free throws down the stretch.

Grade: A-

Big men

The Utah big men did just enough to finish the job.

Dallin Bachynski started his fifth game of the season and finished with six points and five rebounds. The junior struggled at times in the waning minutes and had a costly turnover late in the game.

Marko Kovacevic made a rare appearance and had an immediate impact. The junior from Serbia provided the Utes with a much-needed shot in the arm in the first half and gave Utah its first lead of the game on a great post move.

Like Wright, Jordan Loveridge had a less-than-stellar shooting performance, but he found other ways to help the team. The sophomore forward tallied 12 points and six rebounds, but more importantly, made six free throws down the stretch to seal the win.

Grade: B

Coach Krystkowiak

Once again, Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak looked like a genius with his substitutions. Kovacevic entered the game and answered the call immediately with an assist and two easy buckets. Ogbe proved to be instant offense when his number was called as well.

Grade: A

Mitch Tate is communications major at the University of Utah. Follow him on Twitter @mtate_7

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