Runnin' Utes Execute Down the Stretch, Defeats Stanford
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah men's basketball got back on the win column Thursday after defeating the visiting Stanford Cardinal 79-65 inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center behind four players in double-figures.
Thursday's win makes it six-straight wins over Stanford at home for Larry Krystkowiak and the Runnin' Utes. Utah (5-5, 2-4 Pac-12 has now won eight of its last 10 meetings against the Cardinal dating back to the 2014-15 season. The win also snapped a four-game losing skid for the Utes.
The opening minutes of the first half saw both teams exchanging baskets before Utah took a 15-11 lead thanks to a 9-2 run capped off by a lay-up from Alfonso Plummer and free throws from Riley Battin at the 11:57 media break. The Cardinal (8-4, 4-2 Pac-12) crept back in thanks to five-straight points from Ziaire Williams before a triple from Daejon Davis put Stanford on top, 23-20.
Larsson with the rebound and assist to @timmybuckets35 for the lay-in. ??
— Utah Basketball?? (w/ ??) (@UtahMBB) January 14, 2021
That lead, however, was short-lived as Timmy Allen capped off a 9-0 run for the Utes after knocking down both free throws out of the Cardinal timeout (1:34). Two more points from the stripe saw Allen record 15 points at the half while Plummer had eight after knocking down his second three to give Utah the 34-25 lead at halftime.
After a steal on the defensive end, Mikael Jantunen was rewarded on the offensive end with a great pass from Allen for the and-1. Allen then found Jantunen once again on the ensuing possession, this time a lob pass into the near block to give the Utes a 44-31 advantage at the 15:40 mark in the second frame.
— Utah Basketball?? (w/ ??) (@UtahMBB) January 15, 2021
After going 2-of-11 at the line against Colorado, the Utes were much better from the stripe and hit 16-of-19 with 8:18 left to play - including a 6-of-6 effort at the point in the second half to lead Stanford 55-46. Utah finished the night 25-of-30 (.833) from the line – which is only topped by the 21-of-23 (.913) night against Idaho back on Dec. 18.
Up 57-46, Plummer found Branden Carlson for a reverse lay-up before the senior drained a beautiful step-back 15-footer. Stanford's Jaiden Delaire knocked down a corner three on the other end of the floor cut the lead to 59-49, but Plummer answered right back with one of his own for his 16th point of the night to push Utah's lead back up.
Unlike its previous games, Utah closed out the Cardinal Thursday evening with 14-10 run in the final 3:52 minutes of action while knocking down 6-of-8 free throws.
Allen led all scorers with 22 points, eight rebounds and five assists while shooting 10-of-12 from the line. Plummer was great spark off the bench for Utah, finishing with 16 points on 5-of-9 shooting – three of which came from long range. Carlson wrapped up his night with 12 points and four rebounds on 5-of-7 shooting to go with four blocks – four less than his average of eight against Stanford his previous two games. Jantunen rounded things out for Utah with 11 points, seven boards and three steals on 5-of-7 from the field.
The plus-11 on rebounds against Stanford is the most for Utah this season with the previous season-high coming against Idaho … Utah outscored the Cardinal in the paint 34-16 … the last time a Ute made 10-plus free throws in a game was Allen against Oregon State at home on Jan. 2, 2020 … six rebounds is a new season-high for Pelle Larsson … three steals for Jantunen ties his career-high set against UC Davis last season on Nov. 29, 2019.
Utah wraps up its four-game homestand in a week span this Saturday, Jan. 16, for an 8 p.m. (MT) tip on ESPNU. The Runnin' Utes will look to secure another sweep of the Bay Area teams for the sixth-straight team since 2014-15 (did not play at home in 2018-19). Dave Pasch and Bill Walton will have the call on Saturday in the 34th meeting between the Utes and Golden Bears.