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Runnin’ Utes fall to UCLA 72-70

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NCAA Basketball: Utah at UCLA Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

It has been a couple of weeks since we have seen the Utes once floor, and they came out on Thursday and put together a nice game, with a chance to win at UCLA. There was even a chance at a Parker Van Dyke moment at the end, but the end of game execution was really poor, and Utah fell to UCLA 72-70.

Utah came out firing, well, Alphonso Plummer did, scoring 14-straight points with four-straight threes to give the Utes an early 16-4. As expected, UCLA countered with a 14-0 run of its own to take the 18-16 lead. UCLA’s 9-0 run to end the half and put the Utes behind 41-32.

Timmy Allen, who had 18 points on the day, and had the impact I was hoping he’d have in this game. UCLA built a 47-37 lead with 17:06 left to play, but the Utes were able to counter with a 16-8 run to get within 55-53 of UCLA. Utah took a lead at 60-57 lead to force a UCLA timeout after Allen sparked a 7-0 run.

When UCLA claimed a 70-66 lead after a pair of free throws from UCLA’s Jalen Hill, things got really interesting. An Allen drive made it a 70-68 contest with 16 seconds left, and then Hill then gave the Bruins a 71-68 lead. On the next possession Plummer was able to get to get a Bruin to bite on his shot fake and drew a foul while shooting a three. Plummer missed his first of three before sinking the next two shots to bring the Utes within 71-70.

After a pair of UCLA free throws, the Utes drew up a play with 3.9 seconds left, but a shot was never attempted, as Pelle Larrson had a freshman moment and ended up throwing the ball away with no chance for the tie.

Plummer finished with a game-high 22 points to go with six rebounds. Mikael Jantunen had 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting with five boards.

Rylan Jones would have been the likely guy making the final play but he fouled out in the game, and they need a little more out of him in games like this. He had just six points and four assists.

NOTABLES

Allen is now 13 points shy of becoming the 40th Ute to join the 1,000 points club after scoring 18 at UCLA … Plummer’s 22 points is a new season-high for the senior, previous was 21 against Washington (Dec. 3) … tale of the tape was fairly even for both teams with UCLA edging Utah 12-10 in points off turnovers thanks to an 11-6 advantage on the offensive board … the six rebounds is a new career-high for Plummer.

UP NEXT

Utah continues the road trip with a short turnaround as it faces the Trojans of USC on Saturday, Jan. 2, at 2 p.m. (MT). Ted Robinson and Dan Belloumini will have the call between the Utes and Trojans on Pac-12 Networks.