In what was one of the more complete games for the Utes this season, they finally got a Pac-12 road win, and they didn’t lose a double digit halftime lead with a win over Washington State by a score of 71-56.
The Utes had balanced scoring with five guys in double figures, led by Branden Carlson’s 14 points and 10 rebounds. Timmy Allen had 13 points, while Riley Battin and Alfonso Plummer each had 12, and Mikael Jantunen had 10 of his own. But this may have been the Rylan Jones game, even with him just having five points. He had 10 assists on the game, and played one of the best floor games I’ve seen in a long time. He is the biggest reason Carlsen was as effective as he was, because Allen’s vision allowed him to find the big man time and again for easy buckets.
Utah took a 17 point lead into half after shooting 67% from the floor, and it was Carlson that got them started with some nice jumpers to open the game and open the floor up. As we’ve become used to seeing, the ball was moving really well in the first half, a lot of guys were involved, and it was fun basketball to watch. They held WSU to just 40% shooting in that first half too to help build the lead.
It’s not like that really carried over into the second half, with the Utes shooting just 41% in that second half, but WSU shot 35%. Utah also had too many turnovers again, with 16, but the 19 assists did a nice job balancing that out. WSU made some mini runs at the Utes, go to within about 14, but Utah wouldn’t let them make a big run, and avoided the death spiral that we’ve seen in second halves of the past few weeks. Jones would usually find someone for an open shot or layup to stop any momentum from the Cougs. I still want to see Jones score more, but if he can setup teammates as well as he did on Thursday, the offense will continue to run and find good shots.
BY THE NUMBERS
The 66.7-percent (18-of-27) shooting from Utah in the first half tied for the highest clip in the first half this season, the Utes did the same vs. then-No. 17/15 Oregon back on Jan. 9. … the 38 points in the paint Thursday night ties for the second-most for Utah this season (UVU & Colorado) … Thursday was the first time Utah won a game in the red road jerseys this season, was previously 0-2 … Utah is now 2-2 on the year when shooting over 50-percent from the field … Utah is now 14-2 against Washington State since joining the Pac-12.
Utah now heads to Seattle with a couple days rest before facing off against Washington on Sunday, Jan. 24, at 2 p.m. (MT) on ESPNU. Roxy Bernstein will have the call while Corey Williams serves as the analyst between the Utes and Huskies.