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Runnin’ Utes swept in LA, fall to USC

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

The road woes continue for the Utes as they get rolled over Southern California against USC 64-46. Ian Martinez finished with a team-high 10 points on 3-of-7 shooting. Mikael Jantunen added eight points while Alphonso Plummer was held in check with just seven points on 3-of-11 shooting. Timmy Allen and Rylan Jones pitched in just five points each.

After falling behind by a 16-deficit early, the Utes got within 32-28 of the Trojans heading into halftime, after multiple offensive spurts in that first half, and even took the lead at one point. Utah was able to convert 10 Trojan turnovers in the opening frame to take a 13-6 edge in points off turnovers as well as a 13-0 advantage in fastbreak points.

Utah kept it close the first 10-plus minutes of the second half. Things went south fast fromm that point on as the Utes would get as their offense went cold, finishing 4-of-30 from the field in the second-half, while USC took advantage to finish out the remainder of the game on an 18-6 run.

Defensively, Utah executed its plan and held the Evan and Isaiah Mobley to just five points between the two. Utah’s patented offensive woes reared their head in a big way, including a 3-of-22 effort from deep, was too much for the defense to overcome.

Coach K said after the game that they are going to really focus on offense. A team with this much offensive talent with Plummer, Jones, Martinez and others shouldn’t be able to score less than 70 points, let alone less than 50. If the Utes can’t find offensive consistency, this will be a long season.

Some notes from the post game release below:

NOTABLES

Utah forced an average of 16.8 turnovers heading into Saturday’s game and USC finished 15 turnovers … the loss now extends the streak to 12-straight Pac-12 road games without a win for Utah as it returns home for a four-game homestand … despite a 13-6 edge on the offensive glass, Utah trailed the second-chance points category 9-7 against the Trojans – who is the tallest teams in America according to KenPom … after going into the half with a 13-0 edge in fastbreak points, the Utes were held in check and finished with a 13-9 edge … USC’s height altered plenty of Utah shots to the tune of a nine blocks to Utah’s zero …

UP NEXT

Utah returns home for a four-game homestand beginning with Oregon State on Wednesday, Jan. 6, for a late 9 p.m. (MT) tip-off. Roxy Bernstein and Richie Schueler will have the call on the ESPNU broadcast before the Utes welcome in Oregon on Sunday, Jan. 10, for a noon tip-off on Pac-12 Networks.