Runnin’ Utes Lose First Game of the Season As They Fall to Rival BYU


University of Utah freshman guard Rylan Jones (15) dribbles the ball near Brigham Young University junior Guard Alex Barcello (4) during an NCAA Basketball game at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Cole Bagley, Sports Editor


Despite there being no fans in the stands, BYU played with home-court advantage as the Utes never got in rhythm and lost to the Cougars 82-64. 

First Half

Both teams came out firing as it was quickly a 9-8 game just five minutes in. Mikael Jantunen looked poised to have a big game as he started hot from the floor with eight points on 3-3 shooting and 2-2 from three-point range.

After a quick 14-9 lead by Utah, BYU would go on a 15-2 run and maintained a strong 24-16 lead with 6:52 left in the half. 

Utah really struggled on offense as they were often shooting late into the play clock, couldn’t find an open man and every shot seemed to be contested. On the other side of the ball, BYU started to get shots falling with regularity as they looked to score in transition, played big man bully ball inside the paint and were finding the open man outside the arc. 

BYU finished the first half strong shooting 59% from the field, 50% from three-point range, had 13 assists to Utah’s 5 and ended with a 40-27 lead.

Second Half

Utah did look much better offensively in the second half as they scored 14 points in the first 5:33. They were able to raise their field goal percentage from a measly 31% up over 41% and cut the lead to eight as they trailed 56-48 with 12 minutes remaining in the game. 

But despite the much improved offensive production, Utah could not stop BYU defensively. The Cougars answered Utah’s production with a 10-0 run. This gave BYU one of their biggest leads of the night at 18 with a 66-48 lead. 

The Utes would go cold after that and never recover — because it was just miss after miss. Their field goal percentage fell back to a pitiful 36% and they only scored 14 points in the final eight minutes of the contest. 

BYU heavily outplayed Utah as they led in field goal percentage, three-point percentage, free-throw percentage, points in the paint and assists. The Cougars easily handed Utah their first loss of the season with a final score of 82-64.

Performance of the Game

Alfonso Plummer would lead the Utes in scoring for the second time this season as he finished with 19 points. He was great from the outside as he went 4-8 from the three-point range and 7-15 from the field. He also demonstrated his wide range as several of his 3-pointers were from well beyond the line. 

Notable Performances

The only other Ute to finish in double digits was Riley Battin. He ended the night with 14 points on 6-11 shooting and 2-6 from the three-point range.

The only other notable performance was the lack of performances by Timmy Allen and Rylan Jones. The two combined for only 16 points with a collective 5-21 from the field. Neither of the Utah stars could get going, and most of their shots were contested as BYU played suffocating defense.

“It’s college basketball,” said head coach Larry Krystowiak. “They struggled because it’s a pretty good game plan from the other team. Those guys missed open shots. Rylan didn’t take any bad shots that I remember and at the end of the day when you are presented with an open shot they have to go in.”

Notable Statistic

BYU played bully ball as they outscored the Utes inside the paint 36-24. Size and strength were definitely in favor of the Cougars as center Richard Haward finished the night with 15 points on 7-7 shooting, grabbed seven rebounds and had one assist.

On the opposite end, Branden Carlson could not get anything going as he ended with just four points on 2-5 shooting, grabbed eight rebounds and had one assist.

A Look Ahead

After dropping to 2-1 Utah will look to bounce back next week as they face UVU on Tuesday, Dec. 15 at 5 P.M. MT. They will then face Idaho on Friday, Dec. 18 with a tip-off time TBD. Both games will be played at the Huntsman Center and will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Network. You can also listen on ESPN 700 with Bill Riley on the call.


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