SALT LAKE CITY — Jakob Poeltl had 21 points and nine rebounds to power Utah past California 73-64 on Wednesday night.
Brandon Taylor and Kyle Kuzma added 15 points apiece for the Utes (16-5, 5-3 Pac-12), who have won four straight games.
Jaylen Brown matched his career-high with 27 points and Ivan Rabb had 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Bears (14-7, 4-4), who again struggled on the road — falling to 1-5 away from home.
Poeltl was a focus of the Cal defense but he still went 7 for 10 from the field.
Down five in the second half, the Utes went on a 23-4 run to take control. During the surge, Taylor made back-to-back 3-pointers, Poeltl had a dunk and then a 3-point play, and Kuzma completed the spurt with six consecutive points. Utah led 58-44 with 10:24 to play.
But the Bears kept battling behind Brown’s aggressive drives to the hoop. The freshman’s spinning forays into the lane helped the Bears close within four on a 3-point play with 7:03 remaining but Utah dominated the rest of the way.
Utah led by as many as 13 in the first half but the Bears closed the half on a hot streak. The Bears hit their last three 3-point attempts and Brown made two free throws to cut it to 35-34 at the intermission.
Brown scored four of Cal’s six straight points to start the second half, which capped an 11-0 run spanning both halves, to go up 40-35. Cal didn’t stay on top long as Utah responded its game-clinching run.
On Jan. 4, California turned a close game with the Utes into a 71-58 win with some timely shooting and suffocating defense down the stretch. Since then, Utah has won five of six games.
Leading scorer Tyrone Wallace has been listed as out for another 3-5 weeks with a broken right hand. The Bears have allowed opponents to shoot just 38.4 percent from the floor this season but Utah made 48 percent. … Cal corralled 12 offensive rebounds but still lost the battle of the boards, 38-36.
California plays at Colorado on Sunday.