EditorsNote: Corrects first reference to Southern California. Corrects Utah steals total in 6th graph to 10.
Utah jumped ahead early and answered every run to hold off visiting Southern California 79-65 on Sunday, dealing a blow to the Trojans' NCAA Tournament at-large hopes.
Utah (15-12, 6-9 Pac-12 Conference) trailed by a single point twice in the first half, but otherwise led USC (19-9, 8-7) from wire-to-wire.
Timmy Allen led the Utes with a double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds and also dished three assists. Nineteen of Utah's 27 made field goals were assisted.
Rylan Jones, who landed awkwardly late in the game after drawing a critical charging call on USC's Daniel Utomi, matched Mikael Jantunen with a team-high four assists. Jantunen also scored 13 points off the bench, making him one of four Utes to score in double-figures.
Branden Carlson scored 11 points and grabbed eight rebounds, and Alfonso Plummer delivered 18 points. Plummer and Jantunen paced Utah to a 34-20 advantage in points off the bench.
Utah also had a marked edge in points off turnovers, creating 25 points off of 10 steals. USC scored just seven points off of Utah's 11 turnovers.
Onyeka Okongwu recorded a double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds for USC, but only one other Trojan -- Elijah Weaver with 13 points -- scored in double figures.
Weaver was also the lone Trojan to make more than one of his 3-point attempts. Utah, however, shot 10 of 21 from deep, led by Plummer's 5 of 8. Jones went 2-for-4 from beyond the arc.
USC came into Sunday's matchup off a loss in the first leg of the weekend road trip, dropping a 70-66 heartbreaker at Colorado on Thursday that would have bolstered the Trojans' NCAA Tournament resume.
Instead, USC -- which was ranked No. 41 in the NCAA NET poll heading into Sunday, and projected as a nine and 11 seed by ESPN and CBS in updated tournament forecasts -- heads into a critical home stretch against the Arizona schools needing to erase the impact of losing to a struggling Utah team.
The Utes came in on a three-game losing streak.
--Field Level Media