How Alfonso Plummer Lifted Utah To Second Half Comeback Win Over Colorado

Jan 30, 2021, 4:23 PM
Alfonso Plummer - Utah Utes vs. USC Trojans...
(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
(Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Alfonso Plummer led a massive comeback for Utah basketball in their 77-74 road win over Colorado on Saturday afternoon.

Utah picked up 23 second half points from Alfonso Plummer in order to complete the 19-point comeback. After playing just one minute in the first half and not taking a shot attempt, Plummer turned it on in the second half by scoring 23 points.

19 points was the largest deficit that Utah had to overcome since they trailed UCLA by 22 points on February 9, 2019. They beat the Bruins when Parker Van Dyke nailed the game-winning three-pointer.

Plummer made his first bucket with 14:06 left in the second half to cut Colorado’s lead to 54-42. With 8:46 remaining in the game, Larry Krystkowiak received a technical foul. McKinley Wright knocked down the two free throws to give the Buffaloes a 65-46 lead.

After Mikael Jantunen made a layup to trim the deficit to 17, Plummer made his first three-pointer. Colorado answered with a bucket then Plummer made his second triple of the game. Colorado was 14 points.

Riley Battin made a triple to put Utah on a 6-0 run and trim the deficit to 10 points with 6:19 left. Plummer then made two free throws followed by another three-pointer. Colorado called a timeout as their lead was down to 5 with 5:39 remaining.

Probably the biggest play of the game was with 3:24 left and the Utes trailed by three points, Plummer knocked down a triple and was fouled. He completed the four-point play with the free throw to take a one-point lead. Plummer then attacked the rim and got a layup to stretch their advantage to 72-69 with 2:34 left.

Colorado picked up a three-pointer from McKinley Wright to tie the game with 1:24 remaining. Plummer once again attacked the rim and made another layup to take the lead back. CU missed a three-pointer for a chance to take the lead with 44 seconds. With 12 seconds remaining, Plummer made a turnaround jump shot near the foul line to take a two-possession lead.

Out of his 23 second half points, Plummer scored 21 of them in the final 8:46 of the game. He shot 8-of-13 from the field, 4-for-6 from the three-point line and 3-of-3 from the foul line in just 16 minutes.

Alfonso Plummer, Larry Krystkowiak React To Comeback

Many had flashbacks of Plummer’s breakout game last season when he set a new Pac-12 Tournament record with 11 three-pointers in the first round against Oregon State. Plummer has improved his game since that March afternoon in Las Vegas. He was just feeling it in Boulder.

“I was feeling it, you know,” Plummer said. “I’ve always been equipped, didn’t put my head down. So I was just ready to go in and help my team.”

When a team trails by 19 points with just under 9 minutes left, the starters and role players have about four minutes to try and cut the deficit before emptying the bench. Head coach Larry Krystkowiak told his team to not quit.

“Well, the whole focus is to not quit,” Krystkowiak said. “I mean, we don’t make a game of it unless we can cut it to 10 or 12 and I thought that was imperative. There’s no 19-point play, but the guys really moved the ball, we got a number of stops. We had an elite rebounding performance. Our guys didn’t quit and Fonz (Alfonso Plummer) came in, obviously hit a bunch of big shots, and we’re not going to throw in the towel until we’re certain that we don’t have a chance, and there was plenty of optimism along the way.”

How Big Was The Win For Utah Over Colorado?

Entering Saturday’s clash, Colorado was the highest Pac-12 team in the NET rankings at No. 17. Utah was the seventh highest ranked Pac-12 team at No. 107 and was 0-4 in quadrant 1 games. With the win, Utah will climb up the rankings and picked up their first quadrant one win of the season. Alfonso Plummer was happy to beat a talented team like Colorado.

“Really big to be honest,” Plummer mentioned. “Colorado is one of the best teams in the Pac-12. They always talk about this team going to the tournament. So it’s a really good win and it’s a start for us to keep winning. It was a really important win today. Very happy.”

For the most part, Utah has been in games, usually in the first half but would let off the gas pedal in the second half. Krystkowiak was happy to see his team fight at the end and get the win.

“I told our guys late in the game that we’d been through an awful lot, every team has,” Krystkowiak stated. “I think we’ve had 360 minutes of conference play. We’ve been ahead for like, 210 of those minutes and the record wouldn’t indicate that. The way we worked this week, the improvement that we had, I thought was was really good.”

Utah improved their record to 7-7 overall and 4-6 in Pac-12 play. They will return to the Jon M. Huntsman Center to face Arizona on Thursday, February 4. Tip-off is at 5 p.m. MST and will be broadcast on FS1.

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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