TEMPE, Ariz. — Jason Washburn would gladly trade his impressive performance in Wednesday’s 55-54 overtime loss at Arizona State for a victory.
“I’d rather have the ‘W,” Washburn said the morning after Utah came up short in its Pac-12 opener. “I’d give my personal statistics to anyone else on the team just to win that game.”
Despite scoring 19 points, grabbing 18 rebounds and blocking four shots against the Sun Devils, Washburn lamented about what could have been if more shots fell or a couple of loose balls were secured.
The Utes, he added, played well enough to win.
No one, though, came close to matching Washburn’s contributions. Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak credited the senior center for putting the team on his shoulders.
Washburn excelled in the face of adversity. Arizona State’s student section, located near the Utah bench, made him the object of their attention — offering loud opinions of his basketball skills.
“It was a lot of fun, a fun atmosphere for me,” Washburn said. “They’re just fans representing their team. It didn’t mean nothing to me.”
Washburn, to his credit, responded to the razzing with his play on the court — much to the delight of his teammates. They continually reminded him of the impact he was having on the vocal crowd.
“It felt good every time I would score or do something good and they would all be quiet,” said Washburn, who opted not to interact with the ASU faithful in any other way. “The more attention you give fans the more they’re going to get on you — the more they feel they have a part in it. So I just ignored them and tried to let what I was doing try to silence them.”
Krystkowiak noted that it likely added a little fuel for Washburn.
“For me, if I hear something like that it means you’re having a positive impact on the game,” Krystkowiak said. “He’s the guy that they chose. To me, that’s kind of a pat on the back that you’re doing something right.”
NO FAMILY FUED: As planned, the Bachynski family gathered for a meal after Wednesday’s game between brothers Dallin (Utah) and Jordan (ASU).
“The postgame dinner wasn’t bad,” Dallin said. “It might have been good for postgame dinner that they won, just because Jordan was better to get along with.”
The day before ASU’s 55-54 overtime win over Utah, Jordan asked Dallin not to text or talk to him until after the game. The brothers said “hi” in passing during warmups.
Despite Jordan’s business approach, Dallin noted that it was good to see him again. He especially liked the gear (shirts, hats and toques) his older sibling designed to commemorate the meeting. They featured both team logos, the players’ last name and numbers, plus a maple leaf to represent their Canadian heritage.
Dallin really liked the hat.
“I’ll definitely be wearing it a bit because I do love my brother — even though he beat us,” Dallin said.
EXTRA STUFF: The Utes practiced at Grand Canyon University on Thursday. They’ll do so again Friday morning before heading to Tucson for Saturday’s game at third-ranked Arizona . . . ASU asked the Pac-12 to play Utah on Wednesday to avoid a conflict with the Fiesta Bowl between Kansas State and Oregon . . . Washburn’s strong showing at ASU upped his career point total to 809. He’s in position to become Utah’s 35th 1,000-point scorer.
Utah (8-5, 0-1) at No. 3 Arizona (13-0, 1-0)
McKale Center, Tucson
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