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Alfonso Plummer’s record-setting game a bright spot in Utes’ Pac-12 tournament loss

Utah Utes guard Alfonso Plummer (25), center, runs back up the court as the Utah bench celebrates Plummer’s eleventh 3-pointer during their game against the Oregon State Beavers during the first round of the Pac-12 men’s basketball tournament at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas on Wednesday, March 11, 2020.
Steve Griffin, Deseret News

LAS VEGAS — As the Utah Utes’ experience at the Pac-12 tournament came to a close sooner than they had hoped for, a historic game for guard Alfonso Plummer was maybe the only bright spot in the heartbreaking loss.

In Utah’s 71-69 loss at T-Mobile Arena Wednesday afternoon, Alfonso Plummer hit 11 3-pointers to break the Pac-12 tournament record for most 3-pointers made in a game, as well as Johnnie Bryant’s program record of most 3-pointers made in a game at eight.

While the Puerto Rico native was, understandably, very disappointed post-game, his 35-point game was a personal season-high and a meaningful development for a player that has had his ups and downs on the court in his short time as a Ute.

Plummer began the game making just two of his first five 3-point attempts, but shooters shoot, as the saying goes. Shoot Plummer did as he hit his next six shots of the half, including five makes from beyond the arc. His spectacular effort carried the Utes from a three-point deficit with nine minutes left in the first half to an eight-point lead at the break.

He would not stop there, however, as he drained his first two 3s of the second half to give the Utes’ their biggest lead of the night at 14. Though Oregon State began to key in on him a bit more defensively, he made one more to extend his streak of consecutive makes from beyond the 3-point line to eight.

“I was just playing with confidence,” Plummer said. “My teammates trust me and gave me the ball to shoot open shots and they were just going in.”

Plummer’s 11-for-16 game garnered praise from Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak as well as the opposing squad, which had to make significant adjustments to contain him.

“The individual performance by the Plummer kid was unbelievable,” Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle said. “We were wanting to go to our 1-3-1 (defense) in the first half, but with Plummer hitting shots with blindfolds on and shooting them backwards, we were a little worried.”

“When you catch a rhythm like that, the hoop looks way bigger,” Oregon State senior Tres Tinkle said. “We tried to get him to get off the 3-point line, but we were short closing and he was confident.”

Though Plummer was not always a key contributor this year, he got more significant minutes as the season progressed and his solid play as of late could be a good sign for the future of the Utes, who struggled with shooting at times this season.

“I’ll just keep going to the gym, keep shooting and keep the confidence I played with today,” Plummer said.