Men’s Basketball Plays Idaho State, BYU as they Gear Up for Pac-12 Gauntlet


University of Utah Men’s Basketball players Rylan Jones (#15), Timmy Allen (#1), Pelle Larsson (#3), Riley Battin (#21), and Branden Carlson (#35) discuss their game plan in the season-opening game against the University of Washington in the Jon M. Huntsman Center on U of U campus on Dec. 3, 2020. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Cole Bagley and Ethan Pearce


After The Runnin’ Utes opened up their season with a conference victory against Washington, their season will continue this week with a few out-of-conference games. The Idaho State Bengals will come to the Huntsman Center on Tuesday and then the Utes will head down to Provo to face BYU on Saturday.

The Runnin’ Utes

Ranking: N/A

Record as of 12/5: (1-0, 1-0 Pac-12)

Last Game: W vs. Washington, 76-62

Utah is coming off of a great start to their season as they easily handled the Washington Huskies, 76-62. While the beginning of the game was a little rough and the halftime score was only 37-32 in favor of Utah, the Utes made some key halftime adjustments and ran away with it in the second half.

Offensively, senior Alfonso Plummer paced Utah with 21 points and four steals in the season opener against the Washington Huskies. Additionally, standout junior Timmy Allen had 14 points with eight rebounds in the victory as well. 

Defensively, Utah looked much better in the second half as they committed to shutting down Washington’s only true threat, Quade Green, who had 14 points in the first half but was held to only seven in the second half. Additionally, big man Branden Carlson led the team in blocks as he finished the contest with three.


The Idaho State Bengals

Ranking: N/A

Record as of 12/5: (0-3, 0-0 Big Sky)

Last Game: L vs. UC Davis, 70-61

The Bengals have struggled so far this season, with three losses in as many games. Senior guard Tarik Cool leads the team in scoring with 11.7 points per game to go with two assists. They had their last game canceled against Montana Western due to COVID-19 concerns with the opposing team. Utah is Idaho State’s only Power Five opponent of the year. 

Utah will likely go to a deeper bench and get some of the younger Utes some more playing time against a non-conference opponent as they get ready for Pac-12 play. They will be big favorites this week against an overmatched Idaho State roster. Things to watch include big statistics from Allen and Plummer again, freshman Pelle Larsson getting more comfortable as he adjusts to the college game and Utah will be making sure their players are all conditioned and ready for upcoming conference play.


The BYU Cougars

Ranking: N/A

Record as of 12/5: (4-1, 0-0 WCC)

Last Game: W vs St. John’s, 74-68

Previous Meeting Against Utah: L, 102-95

As fans of the Holy War were left without a meeting on the gridiron this season, the University of Utah and BYU basketball teams are set to compete out on the hardwood. While the rivalry out on the field is heavily one-sided in favor of the Utes, the matchup on the court is much more even with BYU leading 131-129 all time. Despite Utah taking last year’s contest 102-95 in a comeback OT thriller, BYU has owned the series lately as that was Utah’s first victory against the Cougars since 2015.

BYU is coming off a closely contested game against St. John as the game came down to the wire and ended with a 74-68 Cougar victory.

Alex Barcello led the team in scoring as he finished with 20 points on 8-11 from the field and 3-6 from three-point range. Gideon George was great off the bench as he finished with 13 points and 15 rebounds. These are two players that Utah will have to try and limit as much as possible if they want a chance at back-to-back season victories over their in-state rival.

One advantage for the Utes is they will be returning almost the exact same squad from last season. Timmy Allen and Rylan Jones will no doubt be looking to repeat last year’s performance as the duo combined for 52 points that night, including 8 clutch points in OT by Jones which fueled Utah to the victory.

BYU will look completely different from last year’s squad as they lost stars Yoeli Childs, TJ Haws and Jake Toolson to graduation. Those three players all combined for 61 points of BYU’s 95 in last year’s contest.


How to follow the matchups:

The game against Idaho State will be on Tuesday, Dec. 8 at 4 p.m. MST, here at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The game will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network.

The Runnin’ Utes will then face BYU on Saturday, Dec. 12 at 4 p.m. MST at the Marriott Center in Provo. The game will be broadcasted on BYUTV.

Both games will also be radio broadcasted on ESPN 700 with Bill Riley and Jimmy Soto on the call.


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