What a record setting night at the Huntsman Center for the Utes, as they obliterated Mississippi Valley State by a record 94 points, 143-49. The differential is a new D1 record for point differential, and Utah could have put up more, but they called off the dogs as much as they could.
Things started early for the Utes, as they put up 70 points in the first half, while they held Mississippi Valley State to just 20. Timmy Allen actually was outscoring them for much of the game, and was beating them 22-20 at the half by himself. Allen didn’t finish with 50 points, but he did finish with a career high 26. Allen lead nine, yes nine Utes in double figured, as Riley Battin had 15, Branden Carlson had 14, Both Gach had 12, Rylan Jones had 10, Alfonso Plummer had 17, Jaxon Brechley had 14, Eli Ballstaedt had 12, and Matt Van Komen had 12.
Speaking of Gach and Jones, they both recorded triple-doubles for the Utes. Gach with his 12 points, he had 12 rebounds and 10 assists. Jones had 10 rebounds and 11 assists to go with his 10 points. This is the first time a Utah player has had a triple-double since Alex Jensen, and they doubled up the number of Utah players to ever have a triple-double, with the only other one being Andre Miller. Utah also knocked down 17 three point shots, and was a living layup line in the first half. It was an offensive outburst we may never see again, of course, the opposition wasn’t put up much opposition. Gach and Jones had their heads up all night long and hit guy after guy down floor behind the defense for easy layups. Utah’s size definitely disrupted Mississippi Valley, and Utah was off and running much of the night.
I’m not sure what we can take away from a game like this, because it was such a mismatch, but there are some things I really liked.
First, this time plays connected and likes to pass the ball. The Utes had 41 total assists, and they play well within the system. I’m still not sure if they have a bucket getter when things break down, but they play well off of each other, at least they have these last few games. Coach K said in his post game interview with ESPN700 after the Nevada game that he was essentially rebuilding the program with guys that are bought in, which is an indictment of some of the players past, but I like the pieces they have assembled to this point.
They’re also a scrappy bunch. They have picked up a ton of charges the last couple of games, and aren’t scared to get on the floor and really get after the other team. I think a guy like Jones, who has spearheaded that effort largely, as well as keeping the offense rolling, really can be a leader for this squad and keep everyone on their toes.
I’m not yet ready to say this is a team that can jump into the top half of the Pac-12, but I think the young guys they have are talented, they’re pretty sound, and seem to be bought in. I’m very interested to see how they play against Minnesota next week at the Huntsman Center.