Runnin' Utes Return Home to Host Arizona
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah men's basketball team returns home to the friendly confines of the Jon M. Huntsman Center this week as it plays host to Arizona this Thursday, Feb. 4, at 5 p.m. (MT) on FS1.
Jim Kozimor will have the call on Thursday as Utah looks to builds upon its win last Saturday at Colorado while former coaching veteran Dave Miller serves as the analyst in the 17th meeting between the Utes and Wildcats since Utah joined the Pac-12.
PLUMMER NAMED POW
After a heroic 23-point second half performance to help the Utah men's basketball team overcome a 19-point deficit at Colorado this past Saturday, Alfonso Plummer was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week.
This is the first player of the week honor for Plummer in his career and first for Utah basketball this season. In the last five games, Plummer has been averaging 14.4 points with a .520 shooting clip, including a .400 clip from 3-point range for the Utes. The Fajardo, Puerto Rico, native has reached double-figures in scoring in four of the last five games – including Saturday's 23-point performance.
The lone senior on the team, Plummer scored 21 of his 23 points in the final 7:49 of play. During that stretch, he shot 7-of-9 from the field, 4-of-5 from beyond the arc and 3-of-3 from the line to help Utah overcome the 19-point second-half deficit for the team's first win in Boulder since Feb. 23, 2017. Per basketball-reference, Plummer is just 1-of-74 player (1-of-15 from Power 6 conference) to record 20-plus points off the bench in a road game this season through games on Sunday, Jan. 31.
— Pac-12 Conference (@pac12) February 1, 2021
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS
Arizona comes into town this weekend with a 13-4 overall record and fourth in Pac-12 play with a 7-4 mark in conference action. The Wildcats have also won seven of their last 10 contests behind double-digit scoring from five separate players. Offensively, the Wildcats rely on six players for 82-percent of its scoring while the remaining scorers account for just 245 of the team's 1,339 total points so far this season.
UA is first in free-throw attempts nationally with 430 while their 308 free throws made is good for third-most in the NCAA. Arizona, who has the 12th tallest roster in Division I according to KenPom, ranks 14th in the country with a 9.0 rebounding margin – which also leads the Pac-12. The 77 blocks is second-most in the league behind USC and ranks 22nd in the nation.
Georgetown transfer James Akinjo leads Arizona with 14.8 points per game to go with his team-high 5.7 assists average – which is tied with Colorado's McKinley Wright for second-most in the Pac-12. Jemarl Baker Jr. is second on the team in scoring, but is out for the season due to a broken right wrist. Bennedict Mathurin, who has started in three of the last four games, is averaging 11.6 points and 4.8 rebounds to go with a .516 shooting clip.
Azuolas Tubelis leads the team in the rebounding department with 6.3 boards per game while posting 10.9 points per game. Jordan Brown rounds out the double-digit scoring for the Wildcats, checking in at 10.1 points per game and 5.2 rebounds per contest to go with his team-high .593 shooting clip. The other major scorer for UA is Terrell Brown Jr., who transferred in last season from Seattle U, is averaging 8.5 points and 3.4 rebounds.
LAST TIME OUT
"Neveradowski" Utah head men's basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak pointed out behind him postgame in the Colorado women's volleyball locker room of CU's Zoe Neveradowski's nameplate after his team overcame a 19-point deficit in the second half with just under nine minutes remaining. That comeback, the most since it's 22-point deficit at UCLA in 2019 on a 3-pointer from Parker Van Dyke, came a la 23 second-half points from senior Alfonso Plummer.
The reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week was electric down the stretch and single-handedly led the Utah charge inside CU Events Center, drilling 7-of-9 from the field in the final 7:49 of play – including 4-of-5 from 3-point land. In addition, Riley Battin also added to the offense, scoring all nine of his points in the second frame. The victory was sealed for the Runnin' Utes when freshman Pelle Larsson was able block a 3-point attempt to tie the game from CU's McKinley Wright IV as the clock expired.
Utah wraps up its short stint at home with a match-up against Arizona State on Super Bowl Sunday at Noon on Pac-12 Networks. Ted Robinson will have the call between the Utes and Sun Devils while Rod Benson serves as the analyst.
Utah will embark on a four-game road swing the following week, making its first stop at the Bay Area teams. The Utes will first take on California on Thursday, Feb. 11, at 4 p.m. (MT) before closing out that weekend at Stanford Saturday, Feb. 13, at 8 p.m. Both games slated to air on Pac-12 Networks.