Shorthanded Utes Suffer Tough Loss To No. 20 USC In Pac-12 Opener

Dec 1, 2021, 11:31 PM
Craig Smith - Utah Utes vs. Boston College...
(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)
(Photo courtesy of Utah Athletics)

SALT LAKE CITY – The shorthanded Utah Runnin’ Utes suffered another tough injury and another loss as they fell to No. 20 USC 93-73 on Wednesday night.

Both Gach tied his career high with 28 points, including 24 in the second half for the Runnin’ Utes. He made 10 of his 14 field goal attempts. David Jenkins Jr. posted 21 points, including 5-of-9 from the three-point line.

Riley Battin added 10 points.

Isaiah Mobley led USC with 21 points and 13 rebounds.

USC Goes On Big Run In First Half After Carlson Injury

Entering the game, Craig Smith had eight scholarship players available. Bostyn Holt is out of the season. Gabe Madsen and Marco Anthony are both out and the injury to Dusan Mahorcic in the BYU game left him out against USC.

Utah held their own early and was toe-to-toe with USC until Branden Carlson suffered an ankle injury. That was a huge blow for the Utes since Carlson was off to a great start this season. That left Craig Smith with seven available scholarship players.

USC went on a 23-7 run after that and took a 48-28 lead at the half. Riley Battin and David Jenkins each had seven points to lead the Utes in the first half. The Utes shot just 29% from the field and 18% from the three-point line.

The Trojans were led by Boogie Ellis with 16 points, including 3-of-5 shooting from beyond the arc.

Utah Attempts Comeback In Second Half But Comes Up Short

Coming out of the locker room, Both Gach gave Utah a spark as he tried to get the Utes back into the game. The Runnin’ Utes cut the Trojans’ lead to 14 midway through the second half. That lead was cut to 13 after Jenkins knocked down a three-pointer.

Gach kept scoring as he posted 24 of Utah’s 45 points in the second half. He and Jenkins combined for 38 of their 45 points in the second half.

Utah dropped their record to 5-2 overall and 0-1 in Pac-12 play. They will return home to face Cal on Sunday, December 5 at 3 p.m. MT on the Pac-12 Network.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com, Co-Host of Faith, Family and Football podcast with Clark Phillips III and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASports.

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