Runnin' Utes Close Out Weekend with #19/18 USC
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah men's basketball team concludes the weekend welcoming in #19/18 USC this Saturday, Feb. 27, for a 6 p.m. (MT) tip-off inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center on ESPN2.
Dave Pasch will have the call between the Utes and Trojans while Bill Walton serves as the analyst Saturday. Both teams will look to right the ship after dropping their respective games Thursday night.
LET 'EM PLAY!
Per sports-reference.com, there have only been 29 games since the 2010-11 season where a team didn't attempt a single free throw an entire game and Utah was the newest member of that rare list after not attempting a free throw against #RV/RV UCLA. This was the first time in program history where the Utes did not attempt a single free throw in a game.
The only other instance this season occurred on Jan. 15 between North Dakota and North Dakota State. Of the 29 games, there were only seven games where the home team didn't attempt a free throw – only three of which saw the home team win. Meanwhile, only five of those 29 games where one team attempted zero free throws were between two Power 6 programs.
LEADING BY EXAMPLE
Timmy Allen has been big for the Utes this season, leading the team with 16.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists per game. Per sports-reference.com, Allen is 1-of-15 players through games on Feb. 25 to average 16.5 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists on the season. Of the 15, Allen is 1-of-5 players to hail from a Power 6 conference. Others include, Ayo Dosunmu (Illinois, 21.0ppg, 6.3rpg, 5.3apg), Cade Cunningham (Oklahoma State, 18.7ppg, 6.0rpg, 3.6apg), Sandro Mamukelashvili (Seton Hall, 17.8ppg, 7.1rpg, 3.1apg), David Duke (Providence, 17.2ppg, 6.3rpg, 5.0apg), Timmy Allen (16.8rpg, 6.1rpg, 3.4apg).
SCOUTING THE TROJANS
Utah will welcome a USC team that'll be playing with more urgency this Saturday after the Trojans saw Colorado lead them wire-to-wire Thursday night in Boulder, 80-62, just three days after they took care of Oregon at home, 72-58. The Trojans had won seven-straight before dropping two of their last three to Arizona at home and Colorado on the road.
As a team, the Trojans are fifth nationally in blocks (129), sixth in total rebounds (959), eighth in defensive field-goal percentage (.389) and 22nd in rebounds per game (39.96). USC's totals in all four categories is best among the Pac-12.
Kareem Adbul-Jabbar Center of the Year finalist Freshman Evan Mobley paces USC with his team-high 16.7 points per game and 8.5 rebounds per game on 59.5-percent shooting. The 7-0 footer's 71 blocks tops the league and third-best in the country while his .595 shooting clip is 15th-best. The younger Mobley has come as advertised, sitting with nine double-doubles on the year – which is 18th most in the country.
Transfer Tahj Eady has been a constant for the Trojans as well, averaging 14.2 points with a .458 shooting clip while dishing out 61 assists on the year. The 6-2 guard has also knocked down 49 shots from long range to lead the team. Meanwhile, Isaiah Mobley is averaging 9.3 points and 7.6 assists with a .459 shooting clip for the Trojans. Drew Peterson is right behind the older Mobley brother, averaging 9.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 2.9 assists. USC has also had good production from Utah Valley transfer Isaiah White, who is averaging 7.3 points and 3.5 rebounds with a .464 shooting clip.
LAST TIME OUT
A close first half on Thursday turned into a large deficit in the opening of the second half for Utah after UCLA opened the second frame knocking down 11-of-13 to take a 60-39 lead. Despite the Utes getting the lead down to 14 twice, the last coming at the 5:46 mark when Ian Martinez drained a 3-pointer, the Bruins just couldn't miss in the second half and handed the Utes the 76-61 loss.
Branden Carlson led the Utes with 17 points on 8-of-14 shooting with six rebounds. Meanwhile, Riley Battin and Ian Martinez each chipped in with 10 points apiece. Rylan Jones only took one shot attempt in his first game back but dished out a team-high seven assists with no turnovers in 17 minutes of action.
Utah remains at home as it wraps up the regular-season with a pair of home games against Oregon State (March 3) and Arizona State (March 6). Tip-off against the Beavers is slated for 5 p.m. (MT) on ESPNU with Roxy Bernstein on the call and while Adrian Branch serves as the analyst.
The Pac-12 Tournament (March 10-13) will go on as planned with the absence of Arizona, who imposed a one-year postseason ban earlier this year. The first game of the tournament is set to start at 2 p.m. (MT) inside T-Mobile Arena on Pac-12 Networks. The next two first-round games will begin at 5 p.m. and 8 p.m.