Dwight Powell went to the line with 36 seconds left in his final home game at Maples Pavilion needing to stop the bleeding.
The Stanford Cardinal had missed six straight free throws and the Utah Utes had climbed back from a 10-point deficit in the first half to tie the game. Powell missed the first, but made the second to put the Cardinal back up by one and Chasson Randle forced a turnover with 1.8 seconds left to preserve a 61-60 victory that snaps a three-game losing streak.
Stanford (19-11, 10-8 Pac-12 Conference) jumped out to an early 25-15 lead, but the Utes (20-10, 9-9) clawed their way back into the game in the second half, going down by as much as nine points before rallying to take a 58-57 lead on Dallin Bachynski’s dunk with 2:40 to go.
Josh Huestis answered with a 3-pointer to put the Cardinal back up two and then the free throw woes began. Huestis missed a pair, but Utah couldn’t convert on the other end. Then Randle missed two and the Utes answered with a pair of free throws by Bachynski to tie the game at 60-60.
That brought Powell to the line and the senior came through.
Randle led the Cardinal with 22 points and had three steals, Stefan Nastic tossed in 14 points and Huestis finished with 11 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Powell had a rough day, scoring seven points on 3-of-8 shooting, but came through with the free throw conversion when his club needed it.
Utah was 24-for-44 (54.5 percent) overall, 7-for-17 (41.2 percent) from 3-point range and 5-for-6 (83.3 percent) at the foul line. Stanford was 24-for-50 (48 percent), 4-for-13 (30.8 percent) and 9-for-18 (50 percent).
The Cardinal had a 28-25 rebounding advantage and committed 15 turnovers, while the Utes had 17.
Stanford’s next game will be in the Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas and they still have an outside chance at earning a bye to the quarterfinals on Thursday. Otherwise, they will play in one of the first-round games on Wednesday.