Utah Men’s Basketball Gets Big Non-Conference Victory Over Minnesota


University of Utah sophomore forward Timmy Allen (1) and the rest of the University of Utah Men’s Basketball team bench celebrate after a dunk in an NCAA Men’s Basketball game vs. Mississippi Valley State University at Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, UT on Friday November 08, 2019.(Photo by Curtis Lin | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Brayden Ramsay, Sports Writer

The University of Utah men’s basketball team squared off against the Minnesota Golden Gophers on Friday night.


What’s Going on With the Gophers

Meme night brought students to the men’s basketball game in droves as Swoop t-shirts filled the MUSS. The rest of the Huntsman Center was filled with roaring fans as the young Runnin’ Utes have seemed to add a new level of interest to the arena. Utah also broke out the retro uniforms for the first time this season, which added another level of excitement to the atmosphere.

The Utes controlled the tip and scorched the net for the first bucket of the game. Riley Battin scored a 3-pointer starting the team on an early 16-0 run.  The Utes would continue their surge, as Rylan Jones had a shot-clock beating layup to put Utah ahead 34-18 with six minutes left in the first half.

The Utes lost a bit of steam heading into halftime as the Gophers cut the lead back down to 6. At the half, Utah was ahead 39-33.

Minnesota would go on a 5-0 run coming out of half before Both Gach made an acrobatic spin move to get the Utes first two points of the second. Jaxon Brenchley and Jones would set the arena alight hitting back-to-back 3-pointers to put the Utes back ahead by 10 with 13-minutes to play.

Slippery hands and fouls paired with two 3-pointers by Minnesota cut the lead back to 1 midway through the second half. The game would remain close for the next six minutes of play as the Utes and Gophers exchanged buckets. With two minutes left to play in the game, Jones came up with a steal and found Timmy Allen for a sensational one-handed dunk to extend Utah’s lead to 6.

The Golden Gophers would keep the game close by hitting two 3-pointers to cut Utah’s lead to 2 with just over 20 seconds remaining. Gach would then hit two free throws to put the Utes ahead by 4. When the Utes sent the Gophers to the line with 16 seconds remaining, it looked as though Minnesota would work their way back to a 2 point deficit. The Gophers would go 1 of 2 at the line and get the offensive rebound. Branden Carlson would block the shot sent up by the Gophers to which Battin would get the rebound.

After two missed free-throws by the Utes, Minnesota would be sent to the line. The Gophers would miss both free-throws as well before Timmy Allen would shut the door on Minnesota’s comeback attempt by hitting one of two free-throw attempts.

“We started off with an early run and then got away from what got us there,” said head coach Larry Krystkowiak after the game. “We got a little sloppy with turnovers and due to some ill-advised shots, they got back into the game. I was proud of our guys. We never gave up the lead and made enough free throws down the stretch and it was a great opportunity to learn some lessons without taking the loss.”

The Utes would win the game 73-69 for their third victory of the season and Krystkowiak’s 200th win of his career at Utah.


Next Up for the Utes and Gophers

The Runnin’ Utes will travel to Conway, South Carolina to take part in the Myrtle Beach Invitational. Their first game will be against the host, the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers on Nov. 21, 2019, at 5 p.m. Outside of the Utes and Chanticleers, six other teams will take part in the mid-season tournament. Those teams are Villanova, Ohio, Middle Tennessee, Tulane, Mississippi State and Baylor.

Minnesota will head back to Minneapolis for four games in a row. Their next game will be against Central Michigan on Nov. 21. Not long after, the Gophers will face North Dakota, DePaul and Clemson to round out the stretch of home games.


Where to Watch the Utes

Game one of the Myrtle Beach Invitational against the Coastal Carolina Chanticleers will be on ESPNews. Game two can be viewed on ESPNU or ESPNews, and game three can be seen on ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNews, or ESPNU.



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