Utah Utes vs. Utah Valley Wolverines Pick & Prediction DECEMBER 16th 2023

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Utah battles an in-state opponent for the third consecutive game when it hosts Utah Valley on Saturday in Salt Lake City.

The Utes (7-2) survived late rallies in wins over Southern Utah on Dec. 5 and BYU last Saturday. Their 73-69 victory over the then-No. 14 Cougars marked Utah’s first win over a ranked BYU team since 1993.

Utah jumped on BYU early behind Gabe Madsen’s sizzling perimeter shooting. Madsen knocked down four 3-pointers in the first half to help the Utes carve out a 14-point lead at intermission. He drained his fifth 3-pointer with 1:01 remaining in the second half to help Utah stave off a late BYU rally.

Madsen scored 17 points and Branden Carlson added 15 to lead the Utes to their fourth straight victory overall.

“It just showed what we’re capable of,” Carlson said. “We know we can compete and we have the players and the pieces and the mindset to do that.”

Utah allowed BYU to creep back into the game after struggling to close out on the offensive glass and giving the Cougars several extra possessions down the stretch. The Utes were saved by BYU going just 7 of 30 from 3-point range.

“They were missing a lot of shots but we weren’t getting the rebounds,” Utah coach Craig Smith said.

Utah Valley will be facing its second consecutive Pac-12 opponent after pushing Oregon State to the limit in a 74-71 loss to the Beavers last Saturday. The Wolverines are 3-1 in their last four games against Pac-12 teams.

Utah Valley (6-4) nearly got that fourth win against Oregon State. Caleb Stone-Carrawell missed a 3-pointer just before the final buzzer that would have forced overtime. Stone-Carrawell led the Wolverines with 19 points.

“They are big and physical,” Utah Valley coach Todd Phillips said. “All year they have pounded it inside and at times I thought we handled it really well. At times we didn’t. We’ve got to be better.”

This will be the third all-time meeting between Utah Valley and Utah. The Utes won both prior games in the series.

–Field Level Media

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