Salt Lake City, UT (SportsNetwork.com) - The 11th-ranked Utah Runnin' Utes aim to keep their unblemished home record intact on Sunday, as they host the California Golden Bears in Pac-12 Conference action at the Huntsman Center.
Utah, which has won three straight and five of the last six outings overall, has won all 14 home games this season and 16 in a row dating back to last season, the longest run for the program since 2004-05 when the program put together a 21-game run in Salt Lake City.
The team is coming off a 75-59 rout of Stanford three nights ago, moving the Runnin' Utes to 9-2 in conference play which places them in a tie for first place with seventh-ranked Arizona.
Stuck in the middle of the pack in the Pac-12 is a California squad that has split 12 league outings. After struggling mightily through the first few weeks of conference play, the Golden Bears have responded in a big way by winning five straight decisions. On Thursday night, the team tackled Colorado on the road at the Coors Events Center, 68-61.
As far as the all-time series is concerned, Cal owns a 12-10 advantage in a relationship that dates back to 1940, but has been rekindled in recent years after Utah joined the Pac-12 from the Mountain West Conference. The latest encounter was a 63-59 win for the Utes in March of last year.
Jordan Mathews tallied a game-high 22 points, shooting 5-of-7 behind the 3- point line for the Golden Bears, as they took down the Buffaloes in Boulder a few nights back. Also scoring in double figures for the visitors were Tyrone Wallace and David Kravish with 16 and 14 points, respectively, the latter also clearing seven rebounds for a program that connected on an impressive 10-of-22 beyond the arc, compared to just 3-of-10 for the hosts.
During conference play, Mathews leads the Bears with his 17.5 ppg, stemming from a staggering 51.4 percent from behind the 3-point line. Unfortunately, even with Mathews connecting on 37-of-72 out on the perimeter, the team as a whole is hitting at just 35.7 percent, which is below the 36.4 percent for the competition. Wallace and Kravish continue to feed the offense as well with 15.4 and 11.0 ppg, respectively.
In the friendly confines of the Huntsman Center, the Utes dialed up the defense with Stanford in town, limiting the Cardinal to just 37.7 percent shooting from the floor during the double-digit win. Delon Wright led the way on offense with 15 points, clearing five defensive rebounds and making four steals. Dallin Bachynski delivered 13 points and six boards off the bench, while Jordan Loveridge and Brekkott Chapman accounted for 12 points apiece.
Wright, who is already garnering plenty of attention towards postseason awards, leads the Utes in scoring with 12.5 ppg, shooting a sensational 89.6 percent at the free-throw line during conference play. But more than just a scorer, Wright is also responsible for 4.1 rpg and has handed out a team-high 61 assists, 10 ahead of Brandon Taylor who happens to be second in the scoring department as well with 12.2 ppg, stemming from 53.3 percent accuracy out on the perimeter.