NCAA Basketball

Utah takes big lead, holds on late to beat Washington 98-95

(AP Photo/John Locher)

LAS VEGAS (AP) Timmy Allen led six Utah players in double figures with 24 points and 11 rebounds, and the Utes had to hold off Washington's late charge for a 98-95 win in the opening round of the Pac-12 Conference tournament on Wednesday.

Allen and the Utes (12-12) jumped to a 17-point lead early, led by 12 at halftime and never let Washington cut the deficit to single-digits until late in the second half.

Utah, the No. 7 seed in the tournament, will face second-seeded USC in the quarterfinals on Thursday.

Jamal Bey hit a 3 for Washington to pull within 90-81 with 2:06 left, but Alfonso Plummer answered with the 14th 3-pointer for Utah to push the lead back to 12.

The Huskies (5-21) pulled to 95-88 with 48 seconds left on a pair of free throws by Quade Green. After a missed free throw, Washington's Cole Bajema appeared to have an open dunk to pull within five, but Ian Martinez blocked the dunk from behind and free throws by Mikael Jantunen pushed the lead back to nine.

A layup by Erik Stevenson and 3-pointer by Bajema with less than a second left led to the final margin.

Plummer finished with 21 points, including six 3-pointers. The Utes shot 54% from behind the arc and nearly became just the second team in Pac-12 tournament history to reach the 100-point mark.

Branden Carlson finished with 13 points, Pelle Larsson and Jantunen each had 12 and Riley Battin scored 11.

Green led Washington with a career-high 31 points in likely his final game with the Huskies. Bey had 18 and Stevenson 14. The Huskies scored 60 points in the second half, but couldn't overcome a miserable start.

Utah took control with a 23-4 run in the opening moments and led 29-12 barely nine minutes into the game. Allen and Plummer combined for 25 of Utah's 47 points in the first half.

The loss concluded one of the worst seasons in school history for Washington. The .192 winning percentage for Washington was the worst since 1993-94 when the Huskies went 5-22.

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Updated March 10, 2021

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