Runnin' Utes Host Idaho Friday Night
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah men's basketball team will wrap up its non-conference slate, barring any additions later in the year, this Friday, Dec. 18, when it plays host to the Idaho Vandals at 7 p.m. inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Pac-12 Networks.
Friday night's game serves as the second game of a double-header with the women's basketball team facing off against Arizona State at 3 p.m. The last time both men's and women's played a true double-header inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center was back on Dec. 1, 2018. The men edge Tulsa, 69-64, while the women defeated Utah Valley, 85-47.
Krista Blunk will have the call in the 16th meeting between the Utes and Vandals while former Utah assistant coach Joe Cravens once again serves as the analyst on the Pac-12 Networks broadcast.
Utah has been great with its ball security this season, only committing double-digit turnovers once through four games. With just eight turnovers against Utah Valley, the Utes have now turned the ball over less than 10 times in three-straight games. The last time that occurred dated back to the 2016-17 season.
1/14/17: UCLA (9)
1/18/17: at WSU (9)
1/21/17: at UW (8)
12/8/20: Idaho State (7)
12/12/20: at BYU (9)
12/15/20: at Utah Valley (8)
SCOUTING THE VANDALS
Idaho makes its return to the Hill this Friday for the first time in 11 years when it takes on the Utah in its fifth-straight road game to open the season. The Vandals are 0-4 so far on the year and 0-2 in Big Sky Conference action after falling to Sacramento State in back-to-back games to open the season in the first week of December. UI dropped a tightly contested road game to fellow Pac-12 foe Washington State last Wednesday, 61-58, before dropping a 76-66 decision to CSU Bakersfield.
DeAndre Robinson paces the team with 11.5 points and 5.0 rebounds while Scott Blakney is right behind him averaging 11.0 points and 2.3 rebounds. The pair are also leading the team in shooting percentage with Robinson checking in with a .593 clip while Blakney registers at a .559 shooting clip. Gabe Quinnett is nearly averaging in double-figures for UI, posting 9.8 points per game while Hunter-Jack Madden checks in with an 8.0 scoring average.
As a team, the Vandals have shot quite well from downtown hitting 30-of-72 (.417) shots. Similar to the Utes, Idaho has had problems on the glass with opponents averaging 10.3 more rebounds. Individually, Madden is tied with 30 other players with a perfect free-throw percentage in Division I through games on Dec. 15. Of those 30, he is one of 10 players to have shot 10-plus free throws on the year and still perfect from the stripe hitting 13-of-13 so far.
LAST TIME OUT
The Utes had a scare late in the game against Utah Valley, but big plays from Timmy Allen, Rylan Jones and Branden Carlson saw the Utes hold UVU scoreless in the final 3:21 minutes of action to secure the 75-67 victory. That stretch also saw the Utes knock down 5-of-6 shots from the stripe and finish with a 7-0 run.
Timmy Allen finished with a season-high 16 points and six rebounds to go with two assists and two steals. Center Branden Carlson added 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting with four blocks – including one with 10 seconds left in the game to seal the win. Rylan Jones and Alfonso Plummer each chipped in with a dozen points of their own as well in the win.
Utah will get its first road test in Pac-12 play and chance to get its first road victory in conference play since Feb. 23, 2019, when it travels to Tempe for a 7 p.m. (MT) bout against Arizona State on Tuesday, Dec. 22.
The Runnin' Utes will get a short holiday break before getting back to work and prepare for its next road swing to the LA schools. Utah is schedule to first face off against UCLA led by second-year head coach Mick Cronin New Year's Eve at 5 p.m. (MT) on FS1. A couple days later, the Utes head to the Galen Center for a 2 p.m. contest against the Trojans of USC (Dec. 2) on Pac-12 Networks.