Runnin’ Utes Split Weekend Against UCLA, USC

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The University of Utah Men's Basketball team plays UCLA at the Huntsman Center, University of Utah Campus, Salt Lake City, on Thursday, Feb. 20, 2020. (Photo by Mark Draper | Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Mallory Arnold, Sports Writer

 

The University of Utah Runnin’ Utes were back home this weekend to take on UCLA and USC. They split the weekend, losing to the Bruins but beating the Trojans. Utah is now 15-12, 6-9 Pac-12 on the season.

 

Utah vs. UCLA

To start the game off, freshman Branden Carlson got the Utes going by scoring six points, but with his aggressive play he got two fouls early on, forcing him to sit out for some important parts of the game. 

Junior transfer Alfonso Plummer shined for the 9,815 fans at home, scoring 16 points and three 3-pointers. Those three 3-pointers were the only ones made by Utah. Timmy Allen tabbed 11 points and Carlson hit 10. 

“I feel like we have to get better on defense, try to communicate more on that end but I feel nice,” Plummer said to Utah Athletics. “I’m trying to just work hard every practice and try to get better and just wait for my chance. Tonight I just felt like it was my night and I thank all my teammates for giving me the looks.” 

But Utah did have 11 steals, which is the fifth time they have reached double digits this season. The Utes rallied in the second but it wasn’t enough to beat the Bruins, falling 58-69. Overall Utah is 10-12 versus UCLA and 4-3 at home

 

Utah vs. USC 

Utah got a heavy lead to start off the first half, leading by 16-6 at one point. But the Trojans answered back and the score was 20-19 by the second media timeout. The Utes were able to stay fighting and ultimately finish with a victory. The final score was 79-65.

Allen had another incredible night, scoring 21 points and going 7-13. Plummer tied a career high, scoring 18 points and going 5-8 on 3-pointers. Mikael Jantunen tabbed 13 points and Carlson had 11. 

“I thought Fons had a terrific weekend,” said head coach Larry Krystkowiak, referring to Plummer. “When you look at his numbers, he’s playing with a lot of confidence, and you’ve been watching us recently, we’ve been having a hard time putting the ball in the basket, so those 3s add up really fast and he’s not afraid to shoot them.” 

Freshman Rylan Jones went down with a lower leg injury during Sunday’s game and his status has yet to be announced.

The Utes are now 11-2 in the Jon M. Huntsman Center and only have one more game to play there this season. The Utes were on a three-game losing streak, but this win put them back on a win streak before heading to California. 

 

Up Next For the Utes 

Next up Utah will head to Northern California to take on the defensive powerhouse in Stanford and California. The first game will be on Wednesday at 8 p.m., followed by a Saturday game at 4 p.m. Both games will be broadcasted on the Pac-12 Networks.

 

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