SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – A 12-day layoff didn’t seem to hurt the Utes basketball team, as they opened Pac-12 play with an The impressive 81-69 victory over Oregon State.
Timmy Allen scored 25 points and collected 10 rebounds to lead Utah with his third double-double of the season.
Both Gach added 17 points while Rylan Jones scored 14 points and dished out five assists for the Utes. Utah overcame tough interior defense by the Beavers by successfully getting out in transition. The Utes scored 22 fastbreak points.
“It’s good to get the first win out of the way,” said Allen. “We didn’t come out how we would have liked to, but we picked it up as the game went on. We pushed them in transition, we have the advantage with the altitude, and it was fun.”
“We were locked in in the second half,” added Gach. “We had one five minute stretch where we were sloppy, but the coaches reminded us we just needed to finish the game and close things out, and we did.”
Tres Tinkle scored 19 points and collected six rebounds to lead Oregon State. Zach Riechle and Ethan Thompson chipped in 15 apiece. Oregon State scored 16 points off 11 Utah turnovers and blocked eight shots but could not overcome its own lengthy scoring droughts.
The Beavers endured a seven-minute stretch during the first half when they missed seven straight shots and 10 of 11 overall. It opened the door for Utah to rally from an early 13-7 deficit and surge in front.
Jones and Allen combined for back-to-back baskets to ignite a 12-0 run that put the Utes ahead for the first time at 27-19. Hot perimeter shooting from Gach and Jones helped keep Utah in front as the first half wound down.
Oregon State hung around for a while. Tinkle converted a 3-point play and then hit a pair of free throws to trim Utah’s lead to 36-32 heading into the final minute of the half. Gach buried his second 3-pointer to push the lead back to seven.
The Beavers cut the deficit to three points multiple times in the second half, the final time on a fastbreak layup from Antonie Vernon that brought Oregon State to within 54-51. The Utes slammed the door on a further comeback.
Utah used a 16-5 run to extend its lead to 70-55 with 5:31 left. Riley Battin sparked the run with a 3-point play and Gach added the biggest highlight with a dunk off a steal. Battin and Gach combined for four baskets in that decisive stretch.
Utah next hosts #4 Oregon Saturday at 3:00 p.m.