Utah offensive explosion leads to 98-95 win over Washington in Pac-12 First Round action.

The  Utah Utes double combination of Timmy Allen and Alfonso Plummer gave the Washington Huskies all they could handle and a more in the Utes 95-88 win over the Huskies in the opening round of the Pac-12 Conference tournament on Wednesday.  Allen scored 24 points pulled down 11 rounds and his partner in crime Plummer scored 21 points, 18 of which were three-pointers.

The Utes  stormed out of the gates spraying three pointers all over the court and jumped out to a 29-12 lead after just nine minutes of play.

The Utes were the beneficiaries of soft defensive play by the Huskies. Instead of expanding the zone to cover the hot shooting Utes from the 3point line, the Huskies stayed inside the key.  The Utes made 8-15 three-pointers for a 50%  percentage. The Huskies at the same time made just two of three for a dismal 18 % percentage.

 Allen led the Utes with 13 first-half points but the sharpshooting of  Alfonso  Plummer led to the Huskies’ first-half demise. Nate Roberts led the Huskies with six first-half points all field goals. The Huskies finished the half making 15 of 32 shots from the field for a 45.0 % percentage.  A decent percentage but the Huskies’ inability to concentrate on the defensive end saw them go into the halftime break down 35-47.

SECOND HALF RALLY FALLS SHORT

The halftime break not only invigorated the Huskies it gave the coaching staff a chance to implement some changes to the team’s defensive scheme. The hustling Huskies were able to chip away at the Utes lead and made some clutch shots of their own. Jamal Bey hit a 3 for Washington to pull within 90-81 with 2:06 left, but Alfonso Plummer answered with the 14th 3-pointer for Utah to push the lead back to 12.

The Huskies (5-21) pulled to 95-88 with 48 seconds left on a pair of free throws by Quade Green. After a missed free throw, Washington’s Cole Bajema appeared to have an open dunk to pull within five, but Ian Martinez blocked the dunk from behind and free throws by Mikael Jantunen pushed the lead back to nine. A layup by Erik Stevenson and 3-pointer by Bajema with less than a second left led to the final margin.

HOT  FROM THE ARC

The Utes shot 54% from behind the arc and nearly became just the second team in Pac-12 tournament history to reach the 100-point mark. Branden Carlson finished with 13 points, Pelle Larsson and Jantunen each had 12 and Riley Battin scored 11.

Green led Washington with a career-high 31 points in likely his final game with the Huskies. Bey had 18 and Stevenson 14. The Huskies scored 60 points in the second half, but couldn’t overcome a miserable start.

The loss concluded one of the worst seasons in school history for Washington. The .192 winning percentage for Washington was the worst since 1993-94 when the Huskies went 5-22.

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