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Men's Basketball Can't Complete Comeback in Loss at UCLA

Dec 31, 2020

Box Score (PDF)

LOS ANGELES – The Utah men's basketball team couldn't complete the comeback Thursday evening inside Pauley Pavilion after a turnover down the stretch as the clock winded down saw the Utes fall to UCLA 72-70.  
Alphonso Plummer's offensive production didn't see any lapse during the near two-week layoff between games for Utah (4-2, 1-1 Pac-12) as the lone senior started the game flaming hot from the floor, scoring 14-straight points with four-straight 3-pointers to give the Utes an early 16-4 and force a UCLA timeout at the 15:39 mark.

As hot as Plummer and the Utes started the game, the Bruins answered with just as much firepower out of the break with a 14-0 run of its own to take the 18-16 lead on a bucket from Jules Bernard. From there, both teams began exchanging baskets before UCLA went on a 9-0 run to end the half and put the Utes behind 41-32 heading into the locker room.
The biggest difference in the second-half came on the glass with Utah minus-eight on the boards, including a 7-1 edge on the offensive glass for UCLA (6-2, 2-0 Pac-12) that resulted in a 7-2 point differential in second-chance points.
Utah got things going in the second half behind Timmy Allen, who complete a 3-point play in its first possession on offense. Back-to-back triples from UCLA shortly thereafter gave the Bruins their largest lead of the game, 47-37, with 17:06 left to play. However, a year older and a year wiser, Utah answered with a 16-8 run to get within 55-53 of UCLA before calling a timeout with 9:22 left to go.
Johnny Juzang hit a jumper out of the break for the Bruins to make it 57-53 but Allen was relentless in the second-half and started a 7-0 run that gave Utah the 60-57 lead to force a UCLA timeout with 6:31 on the clock. That timeout proved to be useful for the Bruins as they reeled off six-straight points to regain the 63-60 lead.
Down 70-66 after a pair of free throws from UCLA's Jalen Hill, Allen was able to drive to the basket and make it a 70-68 contest with 16 ticks on the clock. Hill then gave the Bruins a 71-68 lead before Plummer was able to get Bernard to jump on the shot fake and drew a foul – sending the senior to the line to shoot three with five second to go. As hot as Plummer was from beyond the arc, he missed his first of three before sinking the next two shots to bring the Utes within 71-70.

Hill was then fouled on the inbounds and connected on the second of two free throws and gave Utah the ball back with 3.9 seconds on the clock. However, the Utes were not able to convert on the ensuing possession and turned the ball over on the final play to end the game.
Plummer finished with a game-high 22 points to go with six rebounds while Allen finished with 18 points and six rebounds of his own. Mikael Jantunen had 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting with five boards. UCLA had four players record in double-figures led by Chris Smith's 16 points. Tyger Campbell was short of a double-double for the Bruins, scoring nine points while dishing out 10 assists.
Allen is now 13 points shy of becoming the 40th Ute to join the 1,000 points club after scoring 18 at UCLA … Plummer's 22 points is a new season-high for the senior, previous was 21 against Washington (Dec. 3) … tale of the tape was fairly even for both teams with UCLA edging Utah 12-10 in points off turnovers thanks to an 11-6 advantage on the offensive board … the six rebounds is a new career-high for Plummer.
Utah continues the road trip with a short turnaround as it faces the Trojans of USC on Saturday, Jan. 2, at 2 p.m. (MT). Ted Robinson and Dan Belloumini will have the call between the Utes and Trojans on Pac-12 Networks.