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Utes roll past Cal 60-45

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

The Utes continue their good play at the Huntsman Center, as they topped Cal, 60-45, on Saturday night. The Utes were led by Timmy Allen and his 21 points, on 8 of 16 shooting. Alfonso Plummer pitched in 8 points, Riley Battin had 7, while Brandon Carlson and Jaxon Brechley had 6 a piece.

Utah had one of their better shooting days for the last few weeks, shooting 45% from the field, but struggled from deep going just 27%. The defense was solid all game too, keeping Cal at 32% for the game. The Utes controlled the game nicely for all 40 minutes. After the Utes took an early 11 point lead, Cal would make some mini runs, but the Utes would keep them at arms length. Utah took a 12 point lead into the half after a nice move by Lahat Thioune.

Allen was the anchor for the Utes in the second half, as he score 14 of the final 20 points for the Utes, and his three was the examination point as he gave the Utes their largest lead of 19 points.

It was nice to see Allen get his groove back, even against a Cal team that is trying to find itself. Allen hasn’t been very efficient over the last few weeks, and hopefully this is something that he can build upon, as Utah enters the home stretch of the season.

Utah did a nice job taking care of the ball, only turning it over 9 times, while they turned over Cal 17. The Utes turned those 17 turnovers into 22 points.

Now the Utes move onto the Oregon schools on the road, for a really tough road swing, where a split would be a big win for this young squad. Post season jockeying is happening, so the Utes need to make up some ground.

Here are Coach K’s thoughts on the game:

Coach K’s Opening Statement…

“We had a good week of practice and I thought we had a good game plan for both of the Bay Area schools and I think we’ve made some good strides in our pick-and-roll coverage. Our bigs did a really good job and I thought our guards were solid too. Both games were high volume pick-and-roll teams in Stanford and Cal and about 50% of their production from this Cal team so I was really pleased and we have very few breakdowns. There were 21 deflections again in the game with some active hands and defensively to hold them to 32% from the field so it’s what we focused on this week. We did a lot of shell drills and a lot of pick-and-roll defense and it was nice that it carried over.”

Coach K on Timmy struggling lately and shooting much better tonight…

“I think some of it is self-inflicted. You know, putting a lot of heat on trying to score and we’ve got a lot of numbers internally that we’ve run on it and he’s going to garner double-teams and there’s a lot of size at the rim. It’s not easy around the rim and I think you’ve seen some glimpses where he gets under control and draws those people. I was watching a college game the other night and some college commentator said ‘If you have the ability to draw multiple people as a player, then you have the responsibility of making sure to move the ball.’ It’s still a work in progress for us but he is a guy who can generate double-teams...the type of shots, I think are as important. When you look at some of the field goal percentages when you are trying to force shots over big bodies it’s a low percentage shot and those numbers prove that. We’ve got to continue to work on it but it’s a fine line too because he’s super capable of getting us some buckets as you witnessed.”