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Oregon State Basketball: Utah Utes Preview (Game 24)

The Utes go for their third-straight win on Thursday in Corvallis.

NCAA Basketball: Utah at Colorado Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Utah Utes (14-9, 5-6)

  • Head Coach: Larry Krystkowiak (9th Season)
  • Top Performer: Timmy Allen (18.4 PPG, 7.3 RPG)
  • Points For: 72.4 PPG (153rd)
  • Points Against: 69.4 PPG (185th)
  • Last Game/Streak: 60-45 Win vs. California (2W)

The Skinny

Winners of two straight, a very interesting Utah squad travels to Corvallis on Thursday night, hopeful to push their conference record back to .500. However, an up-and-down Beavers team stands in their way, with an eye on salvaging what is left of a frustrating 2019-2020 campaign so far.

The Utes have been an incredibly poor road team, who boast a 1-5 record in true away contests, with their lone victory coming all the way back on November 5th at Nevada. It puts Utah in a perplexing spot against an Oregon State side that holds a 9-3 home mark. Will Utah be able to solve their travel woes and throw themselves back into the NCAA Tournament bubble conversation?

NCAA Basketball: San Diego State at Utah
Junior guard Alfonso Plummer is being asked to do more for the Utes right now.
Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports

If Utah wants to begin to trend in that direction, it all has to start with sophomore forward Timmy Allen (18.4 PPG), who has been asked to do even more for this team since the recent injury to fellow second-year talent Both Gach (10.4 PPG). With Gach’s status still up in the air, Krystkowiak has been tasked with taking a deeper dive into the depth chart, relying on much more than his usual cast of guard Rylan Jones (10.5 PPG), forward Riley Battin (9.5 PPG) and big man Mikael Jantunen (7.0 PPG).

One of those pieces has been freshman center Branden Carlson (6.5 PPG), who has been a solid piece to anchor the interior, along with Lahat Thioune (2.0 PPG). Offensively though, the duo are still very much raw pieces. Guards Alfonso Plummer (5.3 PPG) and Jaxon Brenchley (4.5 PPG) have also seen their playing time dramatically increase in Gach’s absence, yet to mixed results in terms of scoring.

At the end of the day though, if there’s one team in the Pac-12 who has been inconsistent enough to hand the Utes just their second road victory of the season, it’s definitely Oregon State. The Beavers are a grab bag on any given night, but Utah’s slower paced style of play should keep this one close until the end.

Can a mix of veteran toughness and a hopefully raucous Gill crowd push the team to a much-needed win down the stretch? Or will it be another letdown in a season full of “could’ve, should’ve, would’ve” been moments?

Player To Watch

Utah v USC Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images

Timmy Allen (Forward - Sophomore)

The fifth leading scorer in the Pac-12 at 18.4 PPG, it’s really hard to understand how much Timmy Allen does for this Utah team until you see the Utes play. Offensively, he’s at the core of everything that goes well. Defensively, he’s usually tasked with defending a stronger opposing player and in between all that, he still finds time to grab 7.3 rebounds and dish out 2.8 assists per game. Talk about a game-changer.

Game Info

  • Date: Thursday, February 13th
  • Time: 6:00 PM PT
  • Location: Gill Coliseum (Corvallis, OR)
  • Coverage: Pac-12 Network