This evening, the Bruins wrap up 2020 with an evening game against the Utah Runnin’ Utes at 4 pm on Fox Sports 1. UCLA holds the slight 12-10 edge in the series, but the Bruins hold an 8-4 lead at home.
Both teams had their only game last week cancelled due to COVID-19. So, both teams come into today’s game after almost a two week break.
The Utes come into today’s game with a relatively young group of starters. Three of the Utah starters are sophomores. The trio is led by forward Mikael Jantunen. While Jantunen is averaging just 8.3 points per game so far this season, he is the team’s best overall shooter as well as the team’s best three point shooter. He is shooting 61.9% from three and 50% overall. He also has the team’s best rebounding average with 5.3 rebounds per game. Center Brandon Carlson is the best scorer of the trio, averaging 8.8 points per game and a 50% shooting percentage while guard Rylan Jones leads the team in assists with 23. Look for this group of guys to build a solid core over the next few years for the Utes.
Interesting, the Utes’ leader in points per game, forward Timmy Allen, is the team’s worst percentage shooter among the starting five. Allen is averaging 15.4 points per game, but has just a 41.5% shooting percentage. He is just 31 points away from scoring 1,000 career points for Utah. Based on his scoring average, he will probably hit that when Utah heads across town to play Southern Cal. Assuming he gets there, he will be just the 40th Ute to do so and the 21st to do it as a junior. He is also a close second behind Jantunen with 5.2 rebounds per game.
Rounding out the starting five is senior guard Alfonso Plummer. He is averaging 14.8 ppg for Utah this season. Plummer is the team’s big three-point threat, but not because he’s deadly accurate. He isn’t. He only shoots 41.9% behind the arc. He’s a threat because he takes so many shots from there. He’s taken 31 attempts which is one more than the number of attempts from the next two guys on the team combined. He’s managed to make 13 of those shots, which is almost twice as many as Rylan Jones who has made the second most three-pointers.
Two guys to watch off the bench are Pelle Larsson and Riley Battin. Larsson is fourth on the team in points per game despite not starting a game yet this season. Battin, on the other hand, has started once this season and looks to be a defensive guy. He is second with the most defensive rebounds and averages more than 20 minutes per game despite scoring just 6.4 points per game and being the worst overall shooter among guys averaging at least 20 minutes per game.
The TuneIn player won’t embed here on Substack, but you can open another tab to listen. Today’s game is on FS1 with Alex Faust and Dave Miller calling the game. If you would prefer to listen to Josh Lewin and Tracy Murray call today’s game instead you can listen to today’s game online.Join your fellow Bruin fans discussing today’s game below.This is your Utah Runnin’ Utes at UCLA Bruins game thread.
Opponent: Utah Runnin’ Utes (4-1, 1-0)
Series Record: UCLA leads, 12-10
When: 4:00 pm PT, Thursday, December 31, 2020
Where: Pauley Pavilion, Los Angeles, CA
TV: FS1 with Alex Faust and Dave Miller
Live Stream: FoxSports.com and the Fox Sports app
Radio/Audio:AM 570 in Los Angeles with Josh Lewin and Tracy MurraySatellite Radio: SiriusXM Ch. 385And, of course, here in The Mighty Bruin Game Thread!
Live Stats: UCLA StatBroadcast
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