In the PAC-12 era, the Utes have had a knack of blasting ASU at the Huntsman Center, and while ASU has been under performing this season, I did not expect that to be the case on Saturday afternoon. After a nice opening half of the game, the Utes really blew the Devils out in the second half and won by the score of 98-59.
The Utes got out to a nice start, with a 5-0 lea, but ASU made a quick little run to close the gap, and eventually took a 14-11 lead. It kind of felt like nobody was going to stop anybody, but perhaps Utah’s offense would slow down at some point. Fortunately, the Devils didn’t want to guard at all on Saturday, and the Utes offense was finding the open guy and hitting shots. The game really took off for the Utes at the end of the first half as Riley Battin hit a three at the buzzer to give the Utes a 13 point halftime lead. ASU had a chance to pull to within 10 before that, but the Battin three really gave the Utes momentum, and that carried over into the second half.
A quick 12-3 run gave the Utes the 22 point lead, and the Utes were on the attack, and ASU just couldn’t get it together on the offensive side of the ball. It almost looked like ASU was running the motions, while Utah was looking to bury them. That’s exactly what Utah did as they flirted with a 40 point lead late in the game, and was around a 30 point lead or much of the second half. Things did get chippy in the second half, as Bobby Hurley got a technical, to no ones surprise, and Timmy Allen got one too for talking to someone on ASU’s bench. It’s almost like the Utes were exercising their demons... on the Devils.
The Utes were led by Alfonso Plummer and Mikael Jantunen’s 15 points, 11 of Plummer’s came in the second half. Timmy Allen had 13 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds. Ian Martinez pitched in 12 points of his own, and Branden Carlson had 11 points and 8 rebounds. Lahat Thioune came in with 9 points, and dominated late in the game, and showed some offensive skill. Utah won the rebounding battle by 11, and had 24 assists to just 10 turnovers. Impressive all around. Even more impressive, the Utes shot 59% on the game. Great game to move into the conference tournament.
The .591 shooting clip is the highest this season for Utah and most since shooting .594 at Colorado last season … the 24 assists was also a season-high for Utah and most since 41 against MVSU last season … the last time Utah had 24 assists in a conference game was against California on Feb. 20, 2018 … the 39 field-goals made was also a season-high and most since the MVSU game last year … Saturday was the second time this year the Utes went perfect from the line (min. 10 FTA), going 12-of-12 … the 41 rebounds is the third-most this season and just the third time Utah has 40-plus rebounds in a single game.
The Utes now head to Las Vegas for the Pac-12 Tournament (March 10-13) as it prepares to face the 10th-seeded Huskies from Washington on Wednesday, March 10, at 5 p.m. (MT) on Pac-12 Networks. Utah and Washington split the season series this year with the home team winning both times.