The Utes will end the 2020 season winless on the road in Pac-12 play, but they went down swinging on Saturday afternoon in Cal. The Utes were led by Timmy Allen’s 26 points, 23 from Alphonso Plummer, and a big 19 points from Both Gach.
Utah started the game slow, turning the ball over multiple times to open the game, and fell back 8-2 with 16 minutes left in the opening half before going on an 8-0 run. Utah made their run, a 14-7 one, late in the first half to take a four point lead into half, and it was Plummer that was pacing the Utes with 10 points to open the game. A storyline in this game is Rylan Jones went out in the first half with an injury and never returned. It looks like he may have been concussed, but there’s been no official word on Jones’ injury.
The second half was much cleaner for both teams on offense, as both teams shot around 60% in that second half, and there just wasn’t much defense being played. Cal opened the half on a quick 7-0 run, but the two teams pretty much exchanged baskets for the remainder of the second half. Things got exciting in the final minutes of the game, as Utah were behind five points with under minute to play, and things looked dicey. Plummer hit a deep three to pull the Utes to within 2 with 10 seconds to play. The following possession, after missed free throws, Gach drove the lane and laid in the ball and drew a foul, but for some mysterious reason the official called the play on the floor, negating the potential three point play and game winning free throw. Instead, Gach knocked down a pair of free throws to force overtime.
In OT, the Utes just couldn’t get enough stops and make the plays to win the game, Some bad turnovers, Gach fouling out, and the inability to make clutch shots, while not getting stops doomed the Utes in OT. If only that and-one would have been called at the end of regulation, but that’s how it goes.
Now the Utes return home for their season finale against Colorado next Saturday. CU got after Utah really good in Boulder, and it will be interesting to see how Utah responds in their home finale after a few extra days off, and going into the conference tournament.