It’s one and done for the Utes in post season play, as they fell to Oregon State in a heartbreaker Wednesday afternoon 71-69. Things started out pretty shaky for the Utes, as they kept turning the ball over, and playing soft defense, fortunately the Beavers wouldn’t able to run away from Utah, as the Utes kept the lead for OSU in single digits. After that shaky start, it was the Alphonso Plummer show for the Utes. He scored a career high 35 points on 11 of 16 shooting from deep, which broke Klay Thompson’s tournament record, and he broke the conference and program record for threes in a game. Plummer scored 23 of his points in that opening half, and helped lead Utah to an eight point lead at 39-31.
The second half was bananas, and Plummer’s hot shooting kept up, as he opened up the half hitting multiple threes, one of which was off of a failed lob that hit the backboard and bounced into his waiting hands. On the back of Plummer’s hot shooting, and some terrible shooting by Oregon State, the Utes built a 14 point lead. The turning point of the game potentially was when Utah couldn’t get a rebound to end an Oregon State possession, and the Utes could have stretched the lead more, but instead Oregon State was able to score an easy bucket and cut into the lead, and they went on their run. Utah had that lead with about 17 minutes left, about 4 minutes later the lead was cut to just a couple of possessions. A combination of handling OSU’s press poorly, which is where Rylan Jones was missed today, as he sat out another game, and the inability for any player not named Plummer to hit shots consistently lead to the run by the Beavers.
As OSU was able to cut in the lead, Riley Battin and Timmy Allen each hit some big shots to keep the Utes ahead. It was basically a one possession game the last four minutes of the game, and it looked like Utah may have had enough in the tank to hold them off, but that just wasn’t the case.
Plummer hit his 11th three to give Utah a four point lead with about a minute left in the game, and that felt like the dagger, but the Beavs countered with one of their own. On the following possession, as the clock was running down, Both Gach turned the ball over as he was driving the lane, and the Beavers took a quick timeout. From there, OSU hit an open three in the corner with 1.8 seconds remaining to win the game.
Allen added 13 points and six rebounds for the Utes while Branden Carlson and Battin chipped in with seven points apiece.
It appears that a shooter has emerged for the Utes for the future with Plummer, who has been on fire lately. There are some really good pieces on this roster, and hopefully this class that is coming in next year will give them the scorer they so desperately need.
For the Utes, it was stated that they await the NIT selection show on Sunday, but with everything that’s going on right now, I’m thinking we’ve seen the end of the season for the Utes, as I don’t think we’ll see the NIT played. It was a season full of big wins, and plenty of frustrating losses. All-in-all, I really like this group, they just need another dude that can go get a bucket when they need it, and I think we’ll see that next season.
We’ll learn more about the Utes fate in the coming days.