Runnin’ Utes Split Washington Road Trip, Lose Late to Washington Huskies


University of Utah freshman center Branden Carlson (35) shoots the ball during an NCAA Basketball game vs. University of Washington at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020. (Photo by Jalen Pace | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Cole Bagley, Sports Editor


Despite leading for over three-fourths of the game, the Runnin’ Utes committed several costly turnovers in the final minutes of play and fell to Washington, 83-79.

First Half

It was an even back and forth contest to begin the game on Sunday afternoon as the teams continually traded buckets, and Utah was leading 11-10 through the first five minutes of play. 

While Utah was primarily doing their offensive damage via jumpers, fouls were an early problem for the Utes as they committed several and were putting Washington at the line. Five of Washington’s initial 12 points were from the charity stripe and kept the Huskies in the game early.

As the Huskies initially were feasting from the free-throw line, Washington went on a 6-0 run over a three-minute stretch as they outran the Utes and got some easy buckets at the rim in transition.

Luckily, Branden Carlson was able to get Utah back on track with a powerful two-handed flush dunk. Carlson initially faked the shot which got the defender in the air, he slipped in behind him and rose for the slam. Carlson was fouled on the attempt and put the Utes back up 19-18 as he converted the free throw.

Over the next few minutes, Utah would go on a 16-2 run and take a 32-20 lead with six minutes left. The shots were falling from all over the floor as Carlson continued to own the paint offensively and Alfonso Plummer splashed a few deep shots during the Utes run. 

But this was a different Washington team than the Utes saw back on Dec. 3 as they fought their way back into the contest. Over the final six minutes, and thanks to some stellar three-point shooting, the Huskies went on a 21-12 run over the last six minutes which cut the lead to three and Utah took a 44-41 advantage into the half.

Second Half

The game remained close through the second half as the teams continued to trade buckets. Both teams were up over 50% from the field on the day as the pace was incredibly high and the defense was sparse. 

Washington guards Jamal Bey and Erik Stevenson kept their team in the game as they combined for 37 of the team’s 61 points midway through the second half. The two were 13-18 from the field and 6-9 from the three-point range. Their stellar performances kept it close as they were able to tie the game at 61 with 10:25 left.

While Bey led the charge for Washington, Carlson was fantastic for the Utes. Not only did he own the paint, but he splashed home his second three-pointer of the season. As you can imagine, the entire bench jumped to their feet with excitement as the big man had an impressive day.

But, the Huskies continued to stick around, and this game was a battle to the very end. Several costly turnovers in the final minute of the game gave Washington extra opportunities, and they made the most out of them, including an and-one finish by Erik Stevenson and clutch free throws by Jamal Bey. Washington finished the game with a 7-0 run over the final 1:17 and claimed the victory, 83-79.

“It doesn’t do you much good to fight when you do that at the end of a game,” said head coach Larry Krystkowiak. “Our last four possessions we turned the ball over so…bad coaching.”

Performance of the Game

Despite the loss, Branden Carlson was magnificent for Utah as he posted a career-high 18 points on 8-13 from the field and 1-1 from the three-point range. He also grabbed five rebounds and punished the rim with several two-hand slams.

Notable Performances

Even though it’s been a fairly frustrating season, Timmy Allen continued to shine for Utah as he scored 15 points on 5-15 from the field and 5-7 from the free-throw line. He also grabbed a career-high 10 rebounds in the loss.

Riley Battin and Alfonso Plummer also played well for Utah as Battin finished with 15 points on 5-8 from the field and Plummer ended the afternoon with 13 on 5-11 shooting.

Jamal Bey had the type of game that you can’t help but point out as he finished with 28 points for the Huskies on 10-11 shooting and was 4-4 from three-point range. The career-high scoring performance by the Washington guard fueled his team to victory as he was absolutely unstoppable. 

Notable Statistic

This was a game full of offense as both teams finished above 50% from the floor. Washington absolutely torched Utah as they finished 29-57 — 50.9% — from the field and 12-24 —50% — from the three-point range. While Utah did finish in a similar manner from the field as Washington, going 31-61 —50.8% — their three-point shooting fell short as they finished 7-18 —38.9%. 

“They [Washington] hit a bunch of three early on, they got some players that are capable from three, and then putting the ball on the floor,” Krystkowiak said. “I thought our defense was better in the second half actually, we got some stops, we got pretty dialed in, but they had some guys that stepped up and made some big-time baskets. I’m not as disappointed in our defensive effort, certainly, there’s some aspects that can improve, as I am the deficiencies we had at the offensive end.” 

A Look Ahead

The Runnin’ Utes fall to a 6-7 overall record and 3-6 in the conference with the loss. Utah will continue their road trip as they prepare to face the University of Colorado next Saturday, Jan. 30 with a tip-off of 7:30 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcasted on the Pac-12 Network and as always you can listen to ESPN 700 with Bill Riley on the call. 


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