Allen, Plummer help Utah beat USC 79-65, snap 3-game skid

Allen, Plummer help Utah beat USC 79-65, snap 3-game skid
USC guard Ethan Anderson (20) goes to the basket as Utah forward Timmy Allen (1) defends in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Sunday, Feb. 23, 2020, in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Timmy Allen scored 21 points and collected 10 rebounds, while Alphonso Plummer chipped in 18 points off the bench to lead Utah to a 79-65 victory over Southern California on Sunday.

Mikael Jantunen scored 13 points and Branden Carlson added 11 for the Utes (15-12, 6-9 Pac-12), who snapped a three-game losing streak. Rylan Jones finished with eight points, four assists, and four steals before leaving with an apparent leg injury after drawing a charge with 3:15 remaining.

Onyeka Okongwu had 18 points and 12 rebounds to lead the Trojans (19-9, 8-7). Elijah Weaver added 13 points.

Trailing by as many as 15 points earlier in the second half, USC ripped off three straight baskets culminating in a 3-pointer from Weaver to cut Utah’s lead to 67-62 with 3:45 left. Jones drew a charge on the Trojans’ ensuing possession and Plummer followed with a 3-pointer that sparked a game-ending 12-3 run for the Utes.

Utah crashed the glass from the opening tip to give its offense an early spark. The Utes outrebounded USC 9-1 in the first four minutes. Six of those boards came on the offensive glass and led to seven second-chance points for Utah.

It opened the door for the Utes to jump out to a 16-6 lead as Allen made three layups.

Then, the Utes went cold. They committed four turnovers and missed seven straight shots over a six-minute stretch before Both Gach ended the drought with a layup.

It opened the door for USC to erase Utah’s lead. The Trojans finally ahead 19-18 on back-to-back 3-pointers from Max Agbonkpolo and Quinton Adlesh that capped a 13-2 run.

USC faded on offense as the half progressed. The Trojans scored one basket and committed four turnovers over the final 4 ½ minutes before halftime. Jaxon Brenchley and Rylan Jones each buried a 3-pointer during that stretch to help Utah go back in front 34-28.

Things initially did not improve for USC after halftime. The Trojans missed four straight shots and six of seven to open the second half, ultimately scoring just one basket in a four-minute stretch. Utah took advantage of the dry spell. The Utes ripped off an 11-2 run, culminating in a corner three from Plummer, to stake out a 45-30 lead.

BIG PICTURE

USC: Bunches of turnovers and long shooting droughts led to the Trojans suffering their first Quad 2 loss of the season. It puts more pressure on USC to get wins in a closing stretch featuring games against No. 24 Arizona, Arizona State, and UCLA in its quest to secure an NCAA Tournament bid.

Utah: The Utes applied tons of pressure on defense to spark a resurgence in a previously dormant offense. Utah forced 15 turnovers and turned those takeaways into 25 points. It helped the Utes enjoy their most productive offensive performance in a month.

UP NEXT

USC hosts Arizona on Thursday.

Utah visits Stanford on Wednesday.

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