Runnin’ Utes Erase 19 Point Deficit, Upset Colorado on the Road


University of Utah junior guard Alfonso Plummer (25) celebrates after a Utah basket during an NCAA Basketball game vs. The University of Colorado at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah on Saturday, March 7, 2020. (Photo by Kiffer Creveling | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Cole Bagley, Sports Editor


Despite trailing by 19 at one point in the second half, The Runnin’ Utes erased a monster deficit and came back to upset the Buffaloes on the road, 77-74.

First Half

Utah started out strong through the first few minutes thanks to Timmy Allen, who took charge offensively and scored the first six points for the Utes. Colorado struggled to get things going as they were getting open looks but just couldn’t convert.

However, it wouldn’t take too long for Colorado to settle into their game as they stormed back in a hurry with three straight triples and an easy bucket at the rim. The Buffaloes put together a 14-2 run over a three-minute stretch and quickly took a 14-8 lead through the first seven minutes.

After their initial quick start, Utah went somewhat cold as they were continuously shooting late into the shot clock and being forced into contested shots, courtesy of Colorado’s suffocating defense. 

On the opposite end, Colorado started the game 6-9 from three-point range and built a 22-13 lead through ten minutes. The Buffaloes did a great job sharing the ball as all but two of their players had scored through the initial ten minutes. 

Ian Martinez was a nice lift off the bench for Utah as he checked in and scored five straight to close the score to just two possessions. Martinez would finish the half with seven points, second in scoring behind Allen, who had 14.

Through the final few minutes, the teams would trade baskets, but the biggest difference was that Colorado was producing mostly from beyond the arc as 30 of their 43 first half points were from three-point range. The Buffaloes finished the initial 20 minutes shooting 10-17 from deep (59%) and took a 43-36 lead into the break. 

Second Half

Utah got out to another poor second half start as they only scored four points through the first six minutes of play. Meanwhile, the three-ball continued to fall for Colorado as they strung together an 11-4 run and led 54-40. 

Things went from bad to worse as midway through the second half Utah was shooting 5-15 (33%) from the field and continued to struggle from beyond the arc as they were 0-5. While Colorado did cool off from the outside, they found their range inside the arc and were shooting at 50% which helped them lead by as many as 19 points.

But Utah was determined to not go down without a fight as Alfonso Plummer caught fire and led the Utes to an 18-2 run over a four-minute stretch. As Utah finally found their range from deep, they eventually tied the game at 69 with just over three minutes remaining. 

“The whole focus is to not quit,” said head coach Larry Krystkowiak. “We don’t make a game of it unless we can cut it to ten or twelve, and I thought that was imperative, there’s no nineteen-point play. But the guys really moved the ball, we got a number of stops, we had an elite rebounding performance, I thought. Defensive rebounding, where everybody, guards, was getting them in and it’s math, it’s very fortunate. But our guys didn’t quit, Fons came in, obviously hit a bunch of big shots and we’re not gonna throw in the towel until we are certain we don’t have a chance and there was plenty of optimism along the way.”

It was the Alfonso Plummer show to finish, as he absolutely could not be stopped. He scored 14 of the Utes final 20 points, including a fadeaway jumper that put Utah up four with 12 seconds remaining. While the final 12 seconds took several minutes to finish, Allen knocked down a free throw to put the Utes up three and then Pelle Larsson blocked Colorado’s final heave attempt to seal the victory.

In a game that looked over long before the final buzzer, Utah did the impossible as they overcame a 19 point deficit and upset the Buffaloes, 77-74,

Performance of the Game

Plummer was a flamethrower in the second half as he scored 23 of Utah’s 41. Not only did he catch fire from the outside, going 4-6 (66%) from three-point range, but he also had several fade-away jumpers, battled his way to the rim for a few layups and also got to the charity stripe. This was by far Plummer’s best performance of the season, as he was the main contributor to Utah’s massive comeback victory. 

“Just keep getting shots,” Plummer said. “Every time I was hitting one, it was like okay, we are getting closer. Every time you shoot, try to like, shoot it with your heart. Try to make it every time you shoot it. That confidence helped me to make some shots and keep rolling.”

Notable Performances

While Allen only scored three second-half points, his 14 first-half points were critical as they kept Utah in the game since the Utes were struggling to get production from anyone else. Allen also sealed the victory with a free throw, putting the Utes up 77-74.

As the attention was mostly on Plummer, Riley Battin was also a key contributor for the Utes as he scored nine second-half points on 4-6 from the field. His points were critical as they were a part of the huge 31-13 run by Utah.

Notable Statistic 

The Utes went on a 31-13 run over the final 8:46 of the game to erase a 19-point deficit and defeat the Buffaloes. While Utah started the second half 0-5 from beyond the arc, they hit five of their final six three-pointers, which heavily fueled the big run to retake the lead and win the game

A Look Ahead

The Runnin’ Utes improve to a 7-7 overall record and 4-6 in the conference with the victory. Utah will now return to Salt Lake City for a short home stand as they host Arizona and Arizona State this coming week. First up, the Utes will welcome the Arizona Wildcats to the Huntsman Center on Thursday, Feb. 4 with a tip-off of 5 p.m. MST. The game will be broadcasted on FS1 and as always you can listen to ESPN 700 with Bill Riley on the call.


[email protected]