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Utes narrowly avoid overtime, hold on to beat Cal 76-75 on the road

Utah's Timmy Allen attempts to get a shot off against California on Feb. 11, 2021.

(Marcus Edwards, Cal Athletics)



Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

SALT LAKE CITY β€” California's Andre Kelly, a 55% free-throw shooter, hadn't missed from the charity stripe all game β€” a perfect 4-of-4.

But with 0.7 seconds left to play in regulation, with Utah controlling a 2-point lead, Kelly went to the line in hopes of sending Thursday's game at Berkeley, California, into overtime.

Before he could get the first shot off, though, Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak called a timeout to try and ice the shooter.

It worked.

Kelly missed the first of two free throws. He needed to miss the second in order for Cal to grab the rebound and hit a last-second shot. Whether Kelly, who finished with 17 points and six rebounds, was not aware of the situation or the ball had other plans, the shot dropped through the net and Utah avoided an overtime scare.

In the end, Utah came away with a 76-75 win on the road β€” its third straight win of the season.

Utah (9-7, 6-6) didn't make a field goal in the final four minutes of the game. But a field goal wasn't necessary as Utah was in the double bonus during that stretch and Cal (7-15, 2-13) was intent on sending Utah's players to the free-throw line. To visiting team's credit, Utah delivered and hit 10-of-14 from the charity stripe in that stretch to hold onto a win.

The Utes finished the night shooting 78% from the free-throw line (21-of-27) but had previously made 15-of-17 before junior forward Timmy Allen missed a few down the stretch late. Allen led Utah with 18 points, including 5 of 9 from the free-throw line, four rebounds and two assists.

Allen had a game-high 14 points at the halftime break, in which Utah led by 10 (42-32) after a 12-1 run over the final 3:55 of the first half. Freshman Ian Martinez took over in the second half and finished a career-high 16 points on 5-of-7 shooting from the field and a perfect 5-of-5 from the free-throw line and five rebounds.

Utah's Branden Carlson added 13 points and three blocks, and Pelle Larsson added 11 points, three assists and two rebounds in the win. Utah was without sophomore guard Rylan Jones who injured his arm during a practice session earlier in the week. Jones was held out of the game and was seen on the sideline wearing a brace.

Cal's Matt Bradley led the team with 20 points and five rebounds, and Grant Anticevich finished with 18 points and eight rebounds as the Golden Bears outshot the Utes 43-34 in the second half.

Utah will return to action Saturday at 8 p.m. MST (Pac-12 Networks) against Stanford in the back end of a two-game California road trip.

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