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Taylor’s big night helps Utah hold off California
Question of the Day
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) - Brandon Taylor still thinks about the three free throws he missed in overtime of loss to third-ranked Arizona last month.
He made all the big plays Wednesday night, converting the go-ahead free throws with 1:46 remaining and hitting a 3-pointer with 51.2 seconds left to lead Utah past California 63-59 and give coach Larry Krystkowiak his first 20-win season in three years at the school.
“Confidence, man, just confidence,” Taylor said. “I stepped up there and had a lot more confidence than I did (against) Arizona. It’s really a mental thing. That’s it.”
Krystkowiak’s Utes (20-9, 9-8 Pac-12) won their third straight since a 67-63 overtime loss at home against now-No. 3 Arizona on Feb. 19 and hope a nice run at next week’s Pac-12 tournament might boost their NCAA tournament hopes despite a handful of narrow defeats.
“He’s got a big heart and he’s one of our better shooters, and it was good for him to rise to the occasion tonight,” Krystkowiak said.
Richard Solomon had 19 points and 14 rebounds and Tyrone Wallace scored 11 for Cal (18-12, 9-8) on a night Cobbs was limited to six points on 2-for-6 shooting - well below his 15.8 scoring average. David Kravish had five blocks, eight points and six rebounds.
Wallace made two free throws with 4:03 left to tie the game at 48, and he became the first player to reach double figures.
“I don’t have the answer. Everybody’s not engaged in the game at all times,” Wallace said. “We’re letting our individual play affect how we play as a team, affect us on defense and in places where it shouldn’t.”
One sign neither team had its best night: On consecutive possessions, each team tossed up an airball from 3-point range in the waning moments. Both teams shot below 40 percent - Cal 35.1 and Utah 39.1.
Taylor found his rhythm when it mattered.
His 3-pointer with 10:51 remaining put Utah up 39-36, then 6-foot-9 Lenz set up his own dunk with 9:57 to go after blocking a shot on the defensive end. Taylor hit another 3 on Utah’s next possession, then a driving layup with 6:10 to go.
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