Runnin’ Utes Pummel Idaho Vandals in Final Non-Conference Game of the Season


University of Utah men’s basketball player, Timmy Allen (#1) dribbles the ball in the Utes’ win against Utah Valley on Dec. 15, 2020 in the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Cole Bagley, Sports Editor


The University of Utah men’s basketball team welcomed their final out of conference opponent to the Huntsman Center on Friday night and this one was over before it began as Utah routed Idaho 79-41. 

First Half

While the first few minutes were a feeling out period, Utah settled into their game quickly after a few three-pointers from Timmy Allen and some stellar team defense. 

To begin the game, Idaho struggled severely on offense as they started 1-12 (8%) from the field through the first six minutes. Every single possession was a mess as they would often shoot extremely late into the shot clock, hoisted a few unanswered prayers, and were constantly turning it over. Due to their poor start, Utah would quickly find themselves up 12-3.

As the contest continued, Utah continued to dominate on both sides of the ball and forced Idaho to turn the ball over 11 times. One of those turnovers resulted in a fast break lead by Timmy Allen, which after a few shot attempts and rebounds would produce an and-one play by Allen. After the free throw, Utah would lead 19-6. 

While the Utes continued to run up the score, they also made some incredible highlight plays along the way, one of which was by freshman Pelle Larsson. After finding himself in the corner, Larsson faked the shot, left his defender behind, and drove to the hoop for an and-one finish over the smaller defender. 

Ian Martinez also had several highlight plays in the first half, one of which was a massive alley-oop slam from Rylan Jones. He started from the corner, ran baseline, caught the ball mid flight and slammed it over 6-foot-8 forward Scott Blakney. To add insult to injury, Martinez splashed home a three-pointer on the ensuing offensive possession.

The difference in talent was obvious as Utah finished with a 12-2 run over the last 3:48 of the first half and led 40-16 at the break.

Second Half

The bleeding continued in the second half as the Utes started on a 18-4 run through the first eight minutes. Utah smothered Idaho as they couldn’t stop turning the ball over and the Utes cashed in on easy buckets.

Utah absolutely picked Idaho apart as they moved the basketball, found open shots, and clearly possessed superior talent. Midway through the half, the Ute’s second and third unit entered the game and even they continued to run up the score as Utah led 68-28 with 7:32 remaining.

As the starters headed to the bench, the deeper bench players saw a few minutes on the court and freshmen Luc Krystkowiak saw his first minutes of college ball, a special moment for the father-son duo.

“He [Luc] works his butt off in practice,” head coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “It’s an exciting opportunity for guys to get a chance to play and reap some of the benefits of being out there.”

Despite clearing out the bench, the Utes finished strong and dominated the Vandals 79-41.

Performance of the Game

The Vandals did not have an answer for Allen as he finished the night with 22 points, 6 rebounds, and 1 assist. He was constantly taking open shots and even converted several and-one plays which contributed to his 8-8 shooting from the charity stripe. Additionally, Allen had a team high plus 36 while on the floor.

Notable Performances

Pelle Larsson had his best game of the season as he recorded a season high: 15 points on 4-8 shooting and a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line. With such a big lead, the freshman saw 19 minutes of play and showed he belongs at this level making impressive plays all night, only turning the ball over twice.

“I challenged him at halftime, ya know, play hard,” Krystkowiak said. “Pelle is a talented bigger guard and I thought he made some nice passes to some guys. It was a big boost. His second half performance was solid for us.”

While Martinez only finished with 7 points, he made the most of his 15 minutes of play as he also grabbed 6 rebounds and dished out 2 assists. He also punished both Scott Blakney and the rim on his savage alley-oop slam and finished the night with an impressive plus 19 on the floor.

Notable Statistics

The elephant in the room was Idaho’s abysmal shooting as they finished the night on 28% from the field and only 17% from behind the three-point line. Not only did Utah play great defense against the Vandals, but it was very obvious Idaho is not a shooting team as they easily missed many of the wide open shots they were given.

A Look Ahead

After a much needed confidence boosting win and improving to 4-1, Utah will now re-enter conference play as they head on the road to take on the Arizona State Sun Devils. The game will be played at Desert Financial Arena in Tempe, AZ with a tip off of 7 p.m. MT. 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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