Utah Cruises Past Arizona With Big Second Half Performance

Feb 4, 2021, 7:21 PM

Riley Battin - Utah Utes vs. Arizona Wildcats...

Utah Utes and Arizona Wildcats scramble for the ball during a men’s basketball game at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021. (Annie Barker, Deseret News)

(Annie Barker, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – After holding just a 5-point lead in the first half, Utah picked up a 73-58 win over Arizona on Thursday night at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

Utah basketball beat Arizona for just the third time since joining the Pac-12 in 2011. It’s also the largest margin of victory over the Wildcats since the 1998 team beat Arizona by 25 points in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

Timmy Allen led the way with 18 points and 9 rebounds. Pelle Larsson added 14 points. Alfonso Plummer chipped in 12 points off the bench, while both Branden Carlson and Riley Battin scored 10 points apiece.

Azuolas Tubelis had 17 points to lead the Wildcats. It was a complete defensive effort in the second half as the Utes shot 57 percent from the floor and held Arizona to just 28 percent shooting.

Allen, Plummer Give Utah First Half Boost Against Arizona

In the first half, the Utes looked locked in defensively and brought the intensity with it. Although, there were times that they brought too much intensity on the defensive end of the floor, which allowed some easy layups at the rim for Arizona.

Utah struggled midway through the half as they went over three minutes without scoring. Fortunately for them, Arizona only had a three point lead during that drought. Timmy Allen finished the first half with 7 points, while Alfonso Plummer led the way with 9 points. The duo combined for half of Utah’s first half points.

They shot 44 percent from the field and 33 percent from the three-point line. Utah was able to force Arizona to turn the ball over 8 times and scored 8 points off of those miscues. The Wildcats were really trying to get to the rim in the first half as they only attempt two three-pointers and didn’t make either of them.

Arizona shot 46 percent from the floor in the first half. Utah took a 32-27 lead into the halftime break.

Utes Puts Arizona Away In The Second Half

Utah had a great start to the second half by outscoring Arizona 19-7 in the first 6 minutes. The Runnin’ Utes had to overcome the heavy whistles by the officials as 10 fouls were called in the first 7 minutes of the second half, 7 on Utah and 3 on Arizona.

The Wildcats responded with a 9-0 run of their own and pulled within 9 points before Pelle Larsson broke the run with a layup. That also stopped a nearly three-minute scoreless drought.

Then Utah extended the lead back out to 16 off of a 7-0 run with just under 9 to play in the game. Arizona wouldn’t get closer than 11 points.

The Utes improved their record to 8-7 overall and 5-6 in Pac-12 play. They will be back on the road to face California on Thursday, February 11. Tip-off is at 4 p.m. MST and will be televised on the Pac-12 Networks.

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 Cruises Past Arizona With Big Second Half Performance