SALT LAKE CITY — They may not be the Runnin' Utes any more. Still, the Pacing Utes just doesn't have a good marketing ring to it.
Whatever the case, Utah is slowing things up a bit and finding success with it. Since an 85-53 loss at San Diego State on Feb. 8, the Utes have played much more efficiently — giving BYU a better game than expected and earning victories over Wyoming and New Mexico. Turnovers have dropped from 17 to 13 to a season-low six after the lopsided loss to the Aztecs.
"We've been trying to play at (a slower) pace since the BYU game. I felt the San Diego State game exposed us a little bit," said Utah coach Jim Boylen. "We tried to improve our pace and our feel for half-court offense."
Boylen acknowledged the Utes may not be running like they were in times past, but their execution is better.
After Saturday's 62-60 win over New Mexico, center David Foster said taking care of the basketball was a huge key to prevailing in The Pit. It also helped take the crowd out of it.
Walking it up the court, slowing everything down and getting something solid is paying dividends.
"I think so," Foster said. "I think we're getting a better feel for sharing the ball and making sure that our assist-to-turnover ratio is better."
Utah's high pick-and-roll offense proved troublesome for New Mexico to defend.
"That is what they were doing the whole game and it ultimately hurt us a lot," said Lobos center Drew Gordon. ". . . They executed it well and my hat goes off to them."
GAME NOTES: Utah defeated TCU 75-62 in Fort Worth on Jan. 22 . . . Foster is just one block away from tying Luke Nevill's school record of 205 career swats . . . Josh Watkins, Shawn Glover, Jason Washburn and Foster are the only Utes to play in all 27 games this season.
Utes on the air
TCU (10-18, 1-12) at Utah (12-15, 5-8)
Tuesday, 8 p.m.
TV: The Mtn.