Senior guard Parker Van Dyke scored 20 points and freshman forward Timmy Allen added 19 as Utah solidified its chances for a first-round bye in the Pac-12 Conference tournament with an 83-74 victory over USC on Thursday in Salt Lake City.
Senior guard Sedrick Barefield added 17 points for the Utes (16-13, 10-7 Pac-2), who moved into sole possession of third place in the conference with one regular-season game remaining. The top four teams in the standings earn a first-round bye in the conference tournament at Las Vegas next week.
Junior forward Nick Rakocevic, freshman guard Elijah Weaver and senior forward Bennie Boatwright each scored 17 for the Trojans (15-15, 8-9), who lost their third consecutive game.
Despite their success in conference play, the victory only gave the Utes a 4-4 record at home in the Pac-12. Utah was coming off a run in which it lost three of its past four games.
Utah grabbed an early 10-9 lead and went up by as many as 12 points in the opening 20 minutes. The Utes had a 42-36 edge at halftime after holding a 22-10 advantage on points in the paint.
Allen and Van Dyke led Utah with nine points each in the first half as the Utes were 17 of 34 from the field, with 11 assists, to USC’s five.
USC was aggressive to start the second half, but Utah kept pace, eventually opening up a 66-50 lead with 10 minutes remaining. The Utes were able to cruise home from there as they earned a season sweep of the Trojans. Utah is now 24-19 all-time against USC.
Utah earned the victory without junior forward Jayce Johnson, who injured his ankle in practice Wednesday. Johnson had 13 points and 13 rebounds in a 77-70 victory at USC on Feb. 6.
USC was playing without freshman guard Kevin Porter, who injured his ankle in last week’s defeat to UCLA.
Trojans guard Jonah Mathews injured his ankle with three minutes remaining in the first half but was able to return in the second half. He wound up with 10 points.
—Field Level Media