Utes get 20th win on Bonam’s big night vs. Stanford

Utah vs. Stanford, NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 4, 2017, in Salt Lake City. Utah won 67-59. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Lorenzo Bonam has rarely played in front of family during his four years of college ball. The Inkster, Michigan native played two years at Gillette College in Wyoming before transferring to Utah. The senior put on a show in his final home game in front of large group of family that drove to Salt Lake City from the Detroit suburb

utesBonam scored a career-high 26 points as Utah rallied to defeat Stanford 67-59 on Saturday afternoon.

“I put my heart into it,” Bonam said. “It means everything to me (to have family here). … To have them drive here from Detroit, they’re crazy. It’s a blessing. In front of them, I felt like I had to show out.

“It was like it was meant to be. I was telling them I’m going to go out like Kobe.”

The Utes (20-10, 11-7) will go into the Pac-12 Tournament as the No. 4 seed and a first-round bye despite a choppy season. They were picked to finish eighth in the conference preseason poll.

Stanford (14-16, 6-12) must wait to find out its seed in the tournament.

Utah guard Lorenzo Bonam (15) dunks on Stanford center Josh Sharma (20) during the second half in an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 4, 2017, in Salt Lake City. Utah won 67-59. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

“It was an uphill battle for us,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “I talked about it three weeks ago and I think everybody thought I was crazy when I said we were still aspiring to be the fourth seed until somebody tells me otherwise. A few things fell into place from outside sources and we took care of all the business we needed to take care of.

“I’m really proud. We’re starting to tap into our potential.”

Both teams were sloppy throughout, but Bonam took over down the stretch on both ends of the floor to put the Cardinal away. The Utes used a 14-2 run late in the game, including nine from Bonam to take an eight-point lead after trailing most of the day. Bonam had back-to-back steals and layups to go up 62-54. Stanford never led again.

Bonam scored 12 points in the final 4:17 and Kyle Kuzma added 16 points for the Utes.

Dorian Pickens paced Stanford with 20 points

“Toward the end of the game, those last five or six minutes, we kind of lost our edge a little bit on the defensive end,” Pickens said. “In the first half, we got up and we were able to do that because we got stops on defense. We were aggressive and in the right spots where we needed to be. We were able to get stops and push in transition.

“Our inability to do that late in the game ultimately cost us.”

Utah guard Gabe Bealer (30) lays the ball up as Stanford center Josh Sharma (20) defends during the second half in an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, March 4, 2017, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The Cardinal took a 28-26 lead into halftime, but led by 11 midway through the first half. Stanford built the lead with an 11-2 run as the Utah offense was dreadful, missing several layups. The Utes scored just two points during the nearly six-minute stretch.

Utah responded with a 14-3 run of its own, highlighted by a pair of 3-pointers from Kuzma and Gabe Bealer, to tie the game at 26.

“As the second half of the conference season has unfolded, I think we’re getting closer and closer to our potential,” Stanford coach Jerod Haase said. “While our potential may not be as high as certain teams in this league, I think that part doesn’t really matter. As long as we can reach our potential or come really close to it, I think we’re going to be in a position to do some good things in Vegas.”


Stanford: The Cardinal didn’t play particularly well despite shooting 53.3 percent from 3-point range. The entire season has been a struggle for Stanford and it now hopes to put together a run in the Pac-12 tournament.

Utah: Saturday meant nothing for the Utes after California lost to Colorado before the game even started and the No. 4 seed was locked up. The biggest concern lies with starting center David Collette, who had to be helped to the locker room with an injury in the first half and never even returned to the bench. Krystkowiak said he was hit in the head and they will be careful after he missed time with a concussion earlier in the year.


Stanford: The Cardinal must wait for the final standings to find out when it will play in the Pac-12 Tournament next week.

Utah: The Utes will play the winner of the No. 5 seed versus No. 12 seed on Thursday in the Pac-12 Tournament.

Stats: umbb_30

Email: sports@stgnews.com

Twitter: @oldschoolag

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