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Staunch Defense Propels Utah Past Arizona, 73-58

Feb 4, 2021

Box Score (PDF)

SALT LAKE CITY – Backed by a collective effort on offense coupled with a heavy dose of defense Thursday night saw the Utah men's basketball team take down the visiting Arizona Wildcats 73-58 inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
Thursday night's victory is just the third time Utah has defeated Arizona since joining the Pac-12, all which have occurred in Salt Lake City. Meanwhile, the 15-point margin of victory is the most since Utah toppled the fourth-ranked Wildcats in the Elite Eight back on March 21, 1998, in Anaheim – 76-51
The Utes had a balanced offensive attack in the first half of action with four different players accounting for 26 of the team's 32-27 lead at the break. After some back-and-forth with both teams exchanging leads, a 9-2 spurt by the Utes (8-7, 5-6 Pac-12) out of the final media break, 3:02, saw the home team on top.

Alfonso Plummer had nine points at the half to pace the Utes on 4-of-8 shooting while Timmy Allen had seven points.
Utah's defense continued to lead the way and allowed it to go on an 11-4 run to push its leads up to 43-31 at the 15:36 media break on a dime from Rylan Jones to Allen for three. That lead got as high as 51-33 after Allen followed Plummer's 3-pointer with a drive to the rack with 14:02 on the clock.

The Wildcats (13-5, 7-5 Pac-2) battled back and cut the Utah lead in a hurry, 53-44, out of the 10:32 media timeout when UA's James Akinjo hit both free throws. However, that was short-lived as Utah answered right back with a 9-2 run after Riley Battin drained a 3-pointer heading into the 7:57 media timeout.
Once again, Arizona clawed its way back into the game and brought the lead down to 64-54 on a short jumper in the paint from Azuolos Tubelis with 3:22 remaining. From there, the Utes put the clamp down on defense and outscored the Wildcats 9-4 to secure the 73-58 victory.
Allen led all players with 18 points and just shy of his third double-double this season with nine rebounds. Pelle Larsson added 14 points, three rebounds and four assists on 5-of-9 shooting while Plummer finished with a dozen points. Branden Carlson and Battin each added 10 points and three rebounds to round out the group of five Utes in double-figures.
Listen to "UTAH MBB downs Arizona: FULL HIGHLIGHTS" on Spreaker.  
Utah is now 3-14 all-time against Arizona since joining the Pac-12 with all three of those wins coming at home … Timmy Allen is moves to 29th in the all-time scoring list at Utah with his 18 points, moving his total to 1,145 points … the Utah defense played great in the second-half, holding the wildcats to just 28.6-percent (8-of-28) shooting from the field … Utah once again held the opposing team's best player below their average, this time keeping Arizona's James Akinjo to just 10 points on 2-of-5 shooting.
Utah will get a few extra days rest with its game on Sunday, Feb. 7, against Arizona State postponed before heading to the Bay Area to take on California (Feb. 11) and Stanford (Feb. 13).