Men's Hoops Set for Saturday Showdown at USC
LOS ANGELES – The Utah men's basketball team will have a quick turnaround to complete its road swing in Los Angeles as it prepares to face USC on Saturday, Jan. 2, inside the Galen Center for a 2 p.m. (MT) tip-off.
Ted Robinson will have the call as the Runnin' Utes continue to seek their first road victory in Pac-12 play since Feb. 23, 2019, while Dan Belluomini serves as the analyst on the Pac-12 Networks broadcast.
MOVING ON UP
After scoring 18 points against UCLA, Timmy Allen now has 987 career points. He's now just 13 points shy of becoming the 40th player in Utah basketball history to record 1,000 career points and the 21st Ute to do so as a junior.
SCOUTING THE TROJANS
Utah and USC will both be looking to bounce back from Thursday night losses when the two take the court inside the Galen Center on Saturday. The Trojans are 5-2 overall and 0-1 in Pac-12 play after falling to Colorado 72-62 at home this past Thursday. The Men of Troy had 21 days between games because of COVID-19 protocols heading into this week's games.
Highly-touted freshman Evan Mobley has come as advertised for the Trojans, leading the team in points (16.7 ppg), rebounds (8.4 rpg), blocks (20) and field-goal percentage (.587). Redshirt senior Tahj Eaddy is second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.0 points and 2.3 rebounds to go with a .446 shooting clip and 21 assists – good for second-most on the team. He also leads the team with 14 made 3-pointers and a .438 clip from downtown. Rice transfer Drew Peterson rounds out the list of double-digit scorers for USC with 10.1 points per game and a 4.0 rebounding average. His 23 assists is tops amongst the team. Isaiah Mobley, older brother to Evan and son of assistant Eric Mobley, is nearly averaging in double-figures for USC with a 9.9 points average and 8.3 rebounding average.
The Trojans had a common opponent with Utah in BYU, who they easily defeated 79-53 in Bubbleville. In its two losses this season, USC was held to 58 points (vs. UConn) and 62 points (Colorado). In those losses, USC shot just .372 from the floor and .279 from deep compared to the .515 clip in wins and .424 shooting clip from long range.
LAST TIME OUT
Despite a hot start for the Utes thanks to 14-straight points from Alfonso Plummer, it wasn't able to make enough stops on the road to grab the victory. Plummer finished with a game-high and new season-high 22 points to go with a career-high six rebounds while Timmy Allen added 18 points and six rebounds of his own. Mikael Jantunen chipped in with 11 points and five boards in his first game back and playing with a face mask.
Utah returns home to the friendly confines of the Jon M. Huntsman Center for a four-game homestand after the LA road swing. First up for the Utes will be Oregon State on Wednesday, Jan. 6, with a late 9 p.m. (MT) tip on ESPNU. Utah will then welcome in Oregon for a noon tip-off on Sunday, Jan. 10, that will air on the Pac-12 Networks.
The Utes remain at home and once again will host a 9 p.m. (MT) contest, this time on Wednesday, Jan. 13, against Stanford on ESPNU. Utah then welcomes in Cal for a Saturday, Jan. 16, game set for 8 p.m. on either ESPN2/U. The Utes split on the home floor against the Cardinal and Golden Bears last season with each team protecting their home courts.