Utah Men’s Basketball Falls in First Round of Pac-12 Tournament


University of Utah junior guard Alfonso Plummer (25) guards University of Colorado junior guard McKinley Wright IV (25) during an NCAA Basketball game at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 7, 2020. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Brayden Ramsay, Sports Writer


Alfonso Plummer’s record-breaking afternoon wasn’t enough to hold off a resurgent Oregon State squad as the University of Utah men’s basketball team fell 71-69.

Plummer would drain 11 of his 16 attempts from 3-point range, breaking the Pac-12 tournament record for 3-pointers made in a game. He would scorch the nets for 23 points in the first half and 35 points in the game.

The Runnin’ Utes would take a 39-31 lead into halftime behind the sweet shot of the junior from Puerto Rico.

Riley Battin and Timmy Allen were also big in the Utes’ effort against Oregon State, notching 13 and seven points, respectively. They led the surge, giving Utah a 3-point lead late in the second half.

The Beavers’ Tres Tinkle showed why he is a legendary player at Oregon State during the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament, notching 19 points in 37 minutes of play. He would make key buckets in the closing minutes of the game to keep the Beavers within striking distance.

It wasn’t Tinkle that would put the dagger in the Utes, though. Jarod Lucas would drain a 3-pointer with 1.8 seconds left in the game to give the Beavers the first-round win.

Turnovers were the Achilles’ heel of the Runnin’ Utes as they totaled 17, which resulted in 24 points for the Beavers.  Utah also shot 49% from the field against the Beavers 53%. The Utes 3-point percentage trumped the Beavers, with 52% against 33%.

In the first-round departure from the Pac-12 tournament, Plummer led the team with 35 points, while Both Gach totaled six assists and two steals. Battin crashed the boards for eight rebounds on the night.

Utah is a long shot to get into the National Invitational Tournament (NIT), but because of their youth and strength of record, the Runnin’ Utes could be a captivating choice for the selection committee. The NIT field will be announced on March 15 at 8:30 pm MST.

If they aren’t chosen to participate in the NIT, the Utes season will come to a close with a 16-15 (7-11 Pac-12) record alongside a ninth-place finish in the Pac-12. Barring any transfers, the Utes will also return 16 of 17 players for the 2020-21 season.


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