Runnin’ Utes Commit Costly Turnovers Late, Lose to Oregon State

U+of+U+junior+forward%2C+Timmy+Allen+%28%231%29%2C+during+the+game+vs.+the+USC+Trojans+on+Feb.+27th%2C+2021+at+the+Jon+M.+Huntsman+Center+on+campus.+%28Photo+by+Jack+Gambassi+%7C+The+Daily+Utah+Chronicle%29

U of U junior forward, Timmy Allen (#1), during the game vs. the USC Trojans on Feb. 27th, 2021 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on campus. (Photo by Jack Gambassi | The Daily Utah Chronicle)

By Cole Bagley, Assistant Sports Editor

 

Multiple mistakes and late turnovers doomed the University of Utah men’s basketball team late as they lost another to Oregon State, 75-70.

First Half

It was another slow start for the Utes and Beavers as the two teams combined for seven turnovers through the first five minutes of play. Five of those turnovers belonged to Utah as they were struggling to connect with each other and were continually throwing the ball into traffic.  

Despite the turnovers, the Utes came out shooting the ball extremely efficiently as they were 4-5 (80%) from the field to begin the contest and led 11-10 with 13 minutes left in the first half.

Almost halfway through the first, neither team was able to break away from the other as the Beavers were 6-13 (46%) from the field and the Utes experienced a bit of a cold-drought amongst their many turnovers. But as always, Ian Martinez entered the game and made an immediate impact as Utah put the ball through the blender, found Martinez open in the corner and he splashed it home to get the team back on track. Utah led 20-17 with a little over eight minutes remaining. 

Timmy Allen and Branden Carlson were cooking early as they combined for 21 of the Utes 40 points. Carlson continues to demonstrate his improved shooting abilities as he connected on a wide-open three, proving to the Beavers they needed to show him a little more respect defensively.

But the Beavers raised their intensity and started to feast inside as they put together a 7-0 run under two minutes, connecting on four-straight field goals. Utah has struggled to protect the paint all season and the Beavers took advantage as 18 of Oregon State’s 35 first-half points were in the paint.

Alfonso Plummer came alive just before half, connecting on multiple three-pointers and posting 12 first-half points to help Utah secure a 40-37 lead going into the half.

Second Half

The Utes endured another slow start as the Beavers came out of the break on a 9-2 run through the first four minutes. Oregon State was much more aggressive down low on both ends of the floor, forcing misses at the rim and also grabbing offensive rebounds which led to extra possessions and second-chance points. 

Allen was able to get Utah back on track and regain the lead as he converted a strong and-one bucket, driving baseline, absorbing the contact and finishing as he fell to the floor. Allen would convert the free throw and give Utah a 50-48 lead with 14 minutes remaining. 

Over the next few minutes, the teams continued to trade buckets and neither side could separate themselves. The defensive intensity was raised on both ends of the court and the Beavers made it incredibly difficult for Utah to score. Oregon State led 64-60 with just over six minutes left in the game.

The final three minutes were a battle as the teams were only separated by two points. Pelle Larsson had arguably the defensive play of the game as he blocked Jarod Lucas from behind off the backboard and kept the ball alive to help the Utes get out on the fast-break. 

As the clock winded down to the final minute of play, Mikael Jantunen hit a massive three-pointer to make it a two-point game. On the ensuing offensive possession, Larsson turned the ball over which forced the Utes to commit a foul and put Lucas at the line. He went 1-2 at the stripe and made it a 73-70 lead for the Beavers.

As the Utes brought the ball backup they committed yet another turnover as Allen threw it into the backcourt for a violation. Lucas sunk two free throws, clinching the game and Oregon State would go on to win, 75-70

“Oregon State played well today, like I said they’re playing well, they’re a good team,” assistant coach Tommy Connor said. “I don’t think we struggled today, I thought we were right there. The game was back and forth the whole game, they hit a couple shots at the end and we don’t get some shots on the rim at the end. So, really it was a toss up. A lot of times it’s just coming out with great energy, and an effort, and a focus, and tonight we didn’t come out from the start.”

Performance of the Game

Despite the loss, Allen had one of his best individual performances of the season as he scored 23 points on an efficient 10-15 from the floor. A lot of Allen’s shots were very timely and continually kept Utah in the game as it seemed Oregon State was on the cusp of running away with it. Allen also had five rebounds and six assists on the night.

Notable Performances 

Alfonso Plummer was also great against the Beavers as he scored 15 points on 6-10 from the field and was 3-7 from beyond the arc. While the Utes came up short, it’s a good sign to see Plummer shooting the ball with such confidence as they will need him in the tournament if they are to have any chance of upsetting the higher seeds.

While Larsson committed some costly turnovers, the young freshman continues to show promise as he was a perfect 3-3 from the field, 2-2 from three-point range resulting in 12 points. He also had three rebounds, two assists and a block against the Beavers.

Notable Statistics

While both teams committed 15 turnovers on the night, which was nearly 25% of both teams possessions, the Utes allowed 22 points off those turnovers compared to only 13 against the Beavers. 

A Look Ahead

The Runnin’ Utes dropped to a 10-12 overall record and 7-11 in the conference with the loss. Utah will finish out their regular season as they welcome the Arizona State Sun Devils to the Huntsman Center on Saturday, March 6 with a tip-off of 12 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.

 

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