Outside of the last five minutes of the game, which got way more interesting than it should have, the Utes dominated the Huskies in their match up of the season in the round of the conference tournament. Utah won their first conference tourney game since 2016, which is a shocker. It wasn’t exactly a game of good defense, as Utah won the game 98-95, and they really let go of the rope late in the game after they led by as much as 19 with about five minutes remaining.
It was a night where the Utes got off to a good start, with a flurry of threes, including from Alfonso Plummer, who loves the rims in T-Mobile Arena. After Plummer’s third three of the opening half, the Utes took a 29-12 lea and were just running away. Utah hit 8 of 15 on threes in that opening half, behind Plummer, Larsson, Battin and Jantunen. Utah was moving the ball well, penetrating and kicking out to the open guy from beyond the line, as well as getting easy looks at the hoop. UW didn’t put up much fight on the defensive side of the ball.
The Utes didn’t let up in the second half on offense, shooting 74% for the half and 60% on the game, but the defense did let up after leading 47-35 at half. The Utes would give up 60 points in the second half, which is mind blowing. Utah pretty well kept a 14-19 point lead for much of the second half, and when UW would make a mini run the Utes would answer back. Larsson gave the Utes their 19 point lead with five minutes remaining on a Larsson three, and it felt like game over at that point, but the Huskies wanted to make things interesting. A combination of 10 turnovers in the second half, including some really sloppy ones against the desperation press by UW, and some missed free throws, the Huskies clawed back into the game in the waning minutes. As UW was making their charge, Plummer slammed the door in their face with another three after they broke the press with about a minute remaining.
The Utes were led by Timmy Allen’s 24 points and 11 rebounds, while Plummer had 21 points. Branden Carlson had a really in game with 13 points and five rebounds, while Larsson and Mikael Jantunen each had 12. Riley Battin pitched in 11, and continues his hot shooting with 3 of 4 from three.
Utah now moves on to play USC on Thursday in the conference quarter finals.