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.
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.
USC hosts Arizona on Thursday.
Utah visits Stanford on Wednesday.
More AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25