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Runnin' Utes Shut the Door on #19 USC with Second Half Surge

Feb 27, 2021
Photo Credit: Kory Mortensen

Box Score (PDF) | Boxscore

SALT LAKE CITY – A surge late in the first half continued with a constant barrage coupled with solid team defense in the second-half saw the Utah men's basketball team hand #19/18 USC its second-straight loss of the weekend with a 71-61 victory Saturday night inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
Coincidentally, the last time Utah defeated a ranked team at home was #25 USC back on Jan. 12, 2017, 86-64.

Playing at full strength for the first time in two-plus weeks, Utah (10-11, 7-10 Pac-12) got off to a quick 4-0 lead after the Utes started the game with a huge alley-oop jam from Pelle Larsson after Timmy Allen secured the steal. The Trojans responded with a 14-2 run before taking the 16-8 lead into the under-12 media break.

Utah slowly crept back into the game thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers from Alfonso Player - who brought the Utes within 22-20 and forced a USC (19-6, 13-5 Pac-12) timeout with 7:31 left in the half. A hard drive to the bucket by Ian Martinez saw the freshman complete the 3-point play followed by two free throws from Allen tie it up at 25-25. The two teams exchanged a couple more baskets before heading to the locker room with Utah down 29-27.
The Utes arguably had its best start to the second-half all season, jumping out with an 8-0 run that forced a USC timeout 2:04 into the second stanza. Larsson started the half with a 3-pointer before Allen completed the and-1 opportunity. The Mesa, Ariz., product then knocked a jumper on the ensuing possession to force the Trojan timeout.

Utah never looked back from that hot start to the second frame and held a double-digit for a large portion of the half.

USC got as close as 61-54 with 5:40 remaining after Isaiah Mobley hit both free throws. However, Plummer caught fire and scored 11-straight points – including three-straight triples to push the lead back up to 69-56 with 2:01 left to go.
The Runnin' Utes outscored USC 44-32 in the second-half, 22 of which came a la Allen and Plummer. As a team, Utah shot 58.6-percent that half while knocking down 7-of-9 from 3-point range to secure its first win over a ranked team since upsetting No. 6 Kentucky 69-66 last year in Las Vegas.
Plummer tied USC's Drew Peterson for the game-high with 19 points on 5-of-7 shooting from beyond the arc while Allen was shy of a double-double. The junior forward had 15 points and eight assists with a pair of steals. Martinez chipped in with 10 points on 4-of-6 shoot in the win. Mikael Jantunen's return critical as the Big Fin finished with six points, seven rebounds and three assists after missing four games to play for the Finnish National Team.
Listen to "Utah MBB upsets #19 Arizona 71-61" on Spreaker.  
Utah is now 38-38 all-time vs. AP ranked teams at home and 4-7 (.364) vs. #19-ranked AP teams … Utes held USC big man Evan Mobley to just 11 points on 2-of-7 shooting while seven of his points came from the free throw line – six of which came late in the second half ... Utah only gave up 13 second-chance points despite giving USC 18 offensive boards … despite USC being one of the tallest teams in the country, Utah had seven blocks to USC's two – three of which came from Branden Carlson … Utah also assisted on 19-of-27 made field goals.
Utah remains at home and will wrap up the regular-season next week as they welcome in Oregon State (March 3) and Arizona State (March 6) for a pair of make-up games from earlier this season. Utes and Beavers will tip off at 5 p.m. (MT) on ESPNU