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3 keys to the Runnin’ Utes’ 55-50 win over Fresno State

In this Nov. 13, 2021 photo, Utah Utes guard Marco Anthony (10) shoots against Sacramento State Hornets forward Cameron Wilbon (22) at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News

In a defensive struggle at the Huntsman Center, Utah closed out the nonconference portion of its 2021-22 schedule with a hard-fought 55-50 win over visiting Fresno State.

Here are three keys to the Utes’ win:

• Lahat Thioune and a sticky Utah zone defense kept Fresno State’s Orlando Robinson in check until the final minutes, holding the 18-point scorer to 17 points and nine rebounds. Robinson scored five of his points in the final 41 seconds. Utah held FSU to 33% shooting to improve to 8-4.

• Playing without center Branden Carlson, who is in health and safety protocol for the second-straight game, the Utes struggled to score most of the night. But Riley Battin and David Jenkins Jr. hit back-to-back 3-pointers with around five minutes remaining to give Utah a cushion and the Utes held on.

• Freshman Lazar Stefanovic sank a pair of free throws with 1:06 left to give the Utes a 51-45 lead and finished with nine points for the Utes. Utah made just one field goal in the final four minutes, a dunk by Marco Anthony, but that was enough against the ice-cold Bulldogs.

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