Runnin’ Utes Take Down Huskies in Season Opener

University+of+Utah+Men%27s+Basketball+center+Branden+Carlson+%28%2335%29+defends+University+of+Washington+player+Nate+Roberts+%28%231%29+in+the+opening+game+between+the+two+teams+in+the+Jon+M.+Huntsman+Center+on+U+of+U+campus+on+Dec.+3%2C+2020.+%28Photo+by+Jack+Gambassi+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29

University of Utah Men’s Basketball center Branden Carlson (#35) defends University of Washington player Nate Roberts (#1) in the opening game between the two teams in the Jon M. Huntsman Center on U of U campus on Dec. 3, 2020. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Ethan Pearce, Assistant Sports Editor

 

The Utah Utes men’s basketball team started their season on a high note, winning their opener 76-62 against the Washington Huskies. 

Utah started the game pretty sluggish, which was expected after the opener was delayed multiple times due to a virus outbreak within the team. They started to find a rhythm in the middle of the first half, going on a 15-2 run to take the lead. Alfonso Plummer led the team with 11 points at halftime, and Utah held a 37-32 lead over the Huskies.

The second half started a lot better for Utah, and they slowly built up their lead over the course of the half. A 20-3 run late in the game sealed it for the Utes, and they were up 20 with about five minutes to play in regulation. The Huskies struggled to score with Quade Green off the court, who easily led the Huskies in scoring. The Utes emptied their bench with about three minutes left.

Early in the second half, Timmy Allen started to get going. After hitting a few jumpers in a row to extend Utah’s lead, he showed why he’s a team captain and an early favorite for All-Pac-12 honors. He finished the night with 14 points.

Pelle Larsson also looked great in his Utah debut, scoring eight points to go along with his seven assists. He puts himself in a great position to secure more minutes as the season goes along. 

Ian Martinez and Jordan Kellier also made their Utah debuts, Kellier tallied two points and a rebound in four minutes.

“He’s ready, man,” Allen said of Larsson. “He’s got a really polished game.”

Plummer finished with 21 points on 8-17 shooting, including 4-11 from three. He will be a valuable source of offense for the Utes as they look to figure out the pecking order over the course of the year. 

“I’m extremely proud of Alfonso,” said head coach Larry Krystkowiak. “A classic example of a person we want in our program, someone who keeps grinding… with the nature of basketball in general with the three-point line, he’s invaluable for us… he brings a spark to our team.” 

“Always stay ready, always work hard,” Plummer said of his new starting role this season.

Even after the slow start, Krystkowiak was happy with the effort from the team. 

“I’m super proud of our guys. Our team has been through a lot, as has every team in America… really proud of the outcome.”

“It just feels good to be out there again,” Allen said. 

“Nice to get it under our belt. We’re going to continue to grow as a team,” Krystkowiak said.

Krystowiak was happy with the depth of the team, which has been an issue in recent years. They played twelve players today and got quality minutes up and down the roster from everyone involved. 

“We can expect a little bit more intensity and energy on the floor, knowing we have adequate subs ready to come in,” Krystkowiak said.

“Having teammates who can hit open shots frees my game up a lot,” Allen said.

Utah’s next game will be against Idaho State this Tuesday at 4:00 MT at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. They won’t have another Pac-12 opponent until Dec. 22, when they play Arizona State.

 

[email protected]

@e_pearce_

@nbacourtsidetv