Utah F Timmy Allen: I’ve Become More Dialed Into BYU Rivalry

Dec 10, 2020, 4:19 PM
Timmy Allen vs. BYU #2...
Utah Utes forward Timmy Allen (1) fires up the crowd during a college basketball game between the Utah Utes and the BYU Cougars on December 04, 2019, at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City, Utah. (Photo by Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Boyd Ivey/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Just three games into the 2020-21 season, Utah basketball already faces a big challenge on Saturday when they make the trip down to Provo to face the BYU Cougars.

Utah is 2-0 on the season with wins over Washington and Idaho State. This will be their first road game of the season. Since joining the Pac-12 in 2011, Utah is 4-4 against the Cougars and are 1-2 at the Marriott Center.

Last season, Utah needed a comeback victory in overtime to beat the Cougars 102-95 at the Jon M. Huntsman Center. Timmy Allen led the Utes with 27 points, while Rylan Jones added 25 points. Mikael Jantunen chipped in 18 and Riley Battin had 14.

Mindset Going Into Rivalry Game

Junior forward Timmy Allen will be playing in his third rivalry game. From Mesa, Arizona, Allen learned quickly about the rivalry.

“Just how serious and intense and personal it is,” Allen said on Thursday. “When I first came in my freshman year, like I know serious thing, but my freshman year we came out and got punched in the mouth. I just realized how serious and personal BYU took it us. Even last year, they amped it up a notch, they came out in warm ups screaming and all that rah rah, and it really got me into it. So, over the years, I’ve become more and more dialed into this game, and we understand the importance it is to the program. We’re gonna treat it like any other game, but the intensity will for sure be there.”

Head coach Larry Krystkowiak spoke to the media on Thursday and said he doesn’t need to tell the players much about the rivalry and that they are focused.

“Based on our practice today (Thursday) coming in and gearing up, our guys are focused,” Krystkowiak said. “I think they understand it. We’ve got three new guys and they’re bright guys and understand a rivalry and a big game, an in-state game and also as much as anything, just us trying to become a better basketball team. So they came in today and we had a great focus and I think we’ve got an initial game plan. Gotta fine tune a few things in the next couple days before Saturday’s game. I don’t think I need to try to make too much out of it. I really think we’ve got a mature group that understands the complexities of it and what it’s going to take.”

What To Know About BYU

BYU is 5-2 on the year and are coming off of a 74-70 loss to Boise State at home on Wednesday night. They have wins over Westminster, New Orleans, Utah Valley St. John’s and Utah State. Their other loss came against USC at the Roman Legends Classic.

Alex Barcello is their leading scorer, averaging 19.6 points per game, along with 4.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. The Arizona transfer is shooting 62 percent from the field and from the three-point line.

Purdue transfer Matt Haarms is the second leading scorer for the Cougars with 10.2 points per contest. The 7’3 big man is also averaging 3 rebounds per game.

Only four players from this year’s team played in last season’s game against the Utes in Salt Lake City. Barcello had 11 points. Connor Harding added 5 points off the bench while Trevin Knell and Kolby Lee went scoreless.

Three Things That Could Determine Winner

1. Rebounding

Utah has struggled mightily on the boards in their first two games of the season. The Utes outrebounded Washington 44-43 but the Huskies grabbed 19 offensive boards and turned it into 13 second chance points. Utah had just 15 offensive boards for 14 second chance points.

They dipped in their win over Idaho State on Tuesday, grabbing just 24 rebounds and 4 offensive boards. The Bengals had 41 boards, including 17 on the offensive end for 22 second chance points. That was an “eye opener” for Larry Krystkowiak when he spoke to the media after the game on Tuesday.

Through seven games this season, BYU is averaging 39.3 rebounds per game and are plus 3.7 in the rebounding margin. In their loss to Boise State on Wednesday, the Broncos outrebounded the Cougars 33-30.

BYU has bigger bodies than Idaho State so Utah will need to be more urgent on the glass if they want to leave Provo with a win.

2. Three-Point Shooting

Over the years, BYU has been a very good from beyond the arc. This season isn’t any different. The Cougars are shooting 37 percent from deep and allow their opponents to shoot 35 percent.

In BYU’s loss to Boise State, they struggled from the perimeter, making seven of their 21 attempts for 33 percent. The Cougars improved in the second half, making 4-of-5.

On the flip side, Utah went 9-of-18 from the three-point line against Idaho State and 7-for-22 versus Washington. Their opponents have shot a combined 11-for-52.

3. Physicality

This rivalry features two former NBA big men in Larry Krystkowiak and Mark Pope at the helm for the two programs. Both coaches pride themselves in having physical teams. Utah’s forwards and centers are not as big as BYU’s but they make sure their presence is felt in the paint with their physicality.

BYU has some guys that are very physical in the post, including Kolby Lee and Richard Harward. In the first half against Boise State, it was evident that they were not physical enough but things changed in the second half but the comeback wasn’t enough. It will be interesting to see how physical these two teams are on Saturday in a rivalry setting.

Tip-off on Saturday between the Utes and Cougars will be at 4 p.m. MST and will be broadcast on BYUtv and KSL Newsradio.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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Utah F Timmy Allen: I’ve Become More Dialed Into BYU Rivalry