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3 keys to Utah’s 73-58 win over Arizona

The Utes have now won consecutive conference games for the first time this season

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Utah Utes’ forward Mikael Jantuen (20) moves with the ball against Arizona Wildcats’ forward Jordan Brown (21) during a men’s basketball game at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Thursday, Feb. 4, 2021.

Annie Barker, Deseret News

Utah entered Thursday night’s game against Arizona in search of their first back-to-back conference wins of the season.

And after 40 minutes, the Utes’ upward trend had continued. Utah defeated Arizona 73-58, improving to 8-7 overall and 5-6 in the Pac-12. The Utes have now won consecutive conference games for the first time this season.

Here are three keys to the Utes’ victory over the Wildcats:

Life behind the arc

Utah was by far the better shooting team, particularly from the outside. The Utes made 8 of 15 3-point attempts, good for a shooting percentage of 53.3%, while the Wildcats made a measly 2 of 9 3’s, shooting 12.5%.

Alfonso Plummer, Riley Battin and Pelle Larsson each made two 3-pointers, while Timmy Allen and Branden Carlson each added one.

Plummer actually had a rough shooting night — he made only 2 of 7 attempts from deep — but it was enough to take down the Wildcats.

Balanced scoring

Speaking of Plummer, he, along with four other Utes, scored in double figures. Allen led the way with 18 points, while Larsson added 14, Plummer 12, and both Carlson and Riley Battin 10.

Only one Utah player didn’t score on the night — Ian Martinez — and Utah finished the game shooting 50.9% from the field, making 27 of 53 shot attempts.

Stout defense

While the Utes’ had success offensively, the story was drastically different for the Wildcats. Arizona made just 20 of 54 attempts, shooting 37% from the field. Then there was the aforementioned shooting from deep, a struggle throughout. The Wildcats also turned the ball over 12 times.

Some of Arizona’s struggles were self-imposed, but Utah’s defense played a part too, particularly in the first half when the Wildcats were held to only 27 points.