CORVALLIS, Ore. — One word may say it all when it comes to tonight's game between Utah and Oregon State at Gill Coliseum. The Utes (10-11, 2-7) and the Beavers (11-11, 1-8) are in dire need of victories.
"Desperate might be a strong word, but both of us should be desperate to try to get a win," said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak. "Each team is looking at the same thing."
There is other common ground. Like the Utes, who have lost four Pac-12 games by five points or less, the Beavers also have lost often — dropping three contests by three points or less.
"They're just one play or two away from having a lot better record than they have," Krystkowiak said.
Oregon State coach Craig Robinson, though, isn't taking any comfort in it.
"Your record is your record and right now we're not living up to the talent level that we have," he said, adding that unless you play that way it doesn't mean anything.
Today's game opens the second half of Pac-12 play for both teams and an opportunity to gain some momentum before next month's conference tournament in Las Vegas.
Krystkowiak, however, isn't taking anything for granted — even after Saturday's 58-55 win over Colorado. He's got plenty of respect for Oregon State.
"We're not really foolish enough to look at their record because they are as talented and as athletic as anybody in our league," Krystkowiak said. "They're as big as anybody in our league."
The Beavers, he continued, have a lot of firepower and versatility. They have four players scoring in double figures — guard Roberto Nelson (16.5 ppg), forward Devon Collier (14 ppg), guard Ahmad Starks (12.2 ppg) and forward-center Joe Burton (11.2 ppg). Forward Eric Moreland averages 9.7 points and 10.5 rebounds.
"I don't think it's going to be hard to talk to our guys," Krystkowiak said of the challenges Utah faces. "It's not an easy place to play and it's as athletic and talented of a team as we really have in our league."
The Utes, meanwhile, have Robinson's attention. He noted that this year's squad is showing more purpose and confidence than last season.
Utah senior Jason Washburn, who tops the team with 13.4 points and 9.1 rebounds in Pac-12 play, is of particular concern.
"He's such a skilled big man and he's going to be a force to reckon with for us," Robinson said. "I think if we can keep him from going crazy we've got a good chance of winning."
EXTRA STUFF: Utah leads the all-time series 12-9, but Oregon State holds an 8-1 advantage in Corvallis. … The Beavers top the Pac-12 in 3-point shooting (37.3 percent). … The Utes won their last road game 74-65 at Washington on Jan. 19. … This trip also includes a stop at Oregon on Saturday. … The teams play again March 7 in the Huntsman Center.
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Gill Coliseum, Corvallis, Ore.
Today, 8 p.m. MST
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: ESPN 700 AM