Utes offense struggles in 70-51 loss at Oregon State

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Utes fall to 0-6 on the road in Pac-12 play

Utah’s Alfonso Plummer (25) releases a pass over Oregon State’s Gianni Hunt (0) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in Corvallis, Ore., Thursday, Feb. 13, 2020. Oregon State won 70-51.(AP Photo/Amanda Loman)

CORVALLIS, Ore. (ABC4 Sports) – The struggles on the road continue for the Utah basketball team.

The Utes fell to 0-6 on the road in Pac-12 play following a 70-51 loss to Oregon State Thursday night.

Kylor Kelley scored 16 points and grabbed nine rebounds to lead Oregon State (15-9, 5-7 Pac-12) to its most lopsided conference win of the season.

“I thought, you know, we weren’t aggressive, we weren’t getting feet in the paint,” said Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak. “There were a lot of times that we didn’t finish strong enough around the rim when we finally did get there. You know those golden opportunities, point blank range and then free-throw line. I just challenged our guys that we had to have a little bit more… players make plays.”

Kelley was a problem for Utah (14-10, 5-7) at both ends of the court. He was 7 of 10 from the field with five dunks, and also blocked two shots. The 7-foot senior post leads the Pac-12 and is second nationally in blocked shots.

“When he screens like that and sprints to screens, and sprints to the rim on the roll, boy it puts opponents in a tough spot,” Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle said.

Utah, which beat Oregon State 81-69 at home Jan. 2 in the Pac-12 opener for both teams, struggled offensively in the rematch. The Utes hit just 37.3 percent from the field.

Branden Carlson was the only Utah player in double figures with 13 points. Timmy Allen, who came into the game averaging a team-high 18.3 points, was held to six points.

The Beavers led by 25 points at 68-43 on Kelley’s dunk with 3:42 remaining.

Utah never got closer than 15 points in the second half after trailing 35-19 at the break.

“You can’t score 19 points in a half, and we were in a little bit of a funk offensively,” Krystkowiak said. “There’s a different story line every game and this one was a little new to us.”

Ethan Thompson added 13 points and matched his career-high with 11 assists for the Beavers. Leading scorer Tres Tinkle had 11 points, and Zach Reichle also was in double figures with 10 points.

Oregon State received solid contributions off the bench led by Jarod Lucas, who scored eight first-half points. Nine different players made field goals.

The Beavers take momentum into Saturday’s game against No. 16 Colorado, a team they beat 76-68 on the road Jan. 5.

“For us we take every game one game at a time,” Lucas said. “We don’t look past anybody. We have some momentum and we’re just gonna keep on trying to build that game after game.”

After limiting then-No. 14 Oregon to just 21 second-half points in a 63-53 win in their previous game last Saturday, the Beavers were strong defensively again against Utah, playing primarily man-to-man defense.

“We’re a little more locked in and we’re communicating better,” Wayne Tinkle said.

Oregon State utilized a 12-2 run midway through the first half to take control.

The Beavers biggest first-half lead was 17 points at 33-16 on Kelley’s alley-oop dunk.

Utah shot just 29.6 percent in the first half and struggled at the foul line as well, hitting 1 of 6.

Utah next plays at #17 Oregon Sunday night at 7:00 p.m.

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