SALT LAKE CITY — In the wake of Utah’s surprisingly lopsided 76-59 loss to USC, head coach Larry Krystkowiak offered some words of optimism.
“Keep the faith,” he said at the conclusion of his postgame press conference. “The sun keeps coming up.”
Although Saturday’s setback in the Huntsman Center was disappointing, Krystkowiak noted that the Utes (8-8, 0-4) still have 14 conference games and at least one game in the Pac-12 Tournament left to play.
“That’s what we’re in control of,” he explained.
The Utes, Krystkowiak continued, are at a point in the season where 10-minute meetings would be scheduled with each player where the coaching staff would go over areas in need of improvement.
Krystkowiak said they’d all be completed before practice on Monday. A team mindset for the remainder of the season would also be re-established.
“We’re not going to quit. There’s no way we’re every going to quit and then that talk is cheap,” Krystkowiak said. “It’s time to come out and do.”
No more talking about what would of, could of or should of happened earlier in the season. By drawing such a line, Krystkowiak is hopeful that there’s no confusion about what the coaches expect from the players.
Senior guard Jarred DuBois is confident that the team will come together if everyone looks in the mirror individually and figures out what led to wins earlier in the season.
Senior center Jason Washburn, who had double-doubles in Utah’s first three conference games, blamed himself for the USC setback. He finished with 13 points and four rebounds.
“I don’t have any definitive answers. Personally, I don’t think I came out to play the way I have been the past few games and that’s on me. My team needs me to do that and I didn’t do it tonight,” Washburn said. “That’s the only thing I can speak of. That’s the only thing I can speak on. My team plays hard, our coach coaches even harder. So I’ve got to do my own reflection.”
The clock, however, is ticking. Utah has two road games this week — Wednesday at Washington State and Saturday at Washington.
Will the Utes bounce back and make a good showing?
“We’ll see. We’ve got a chance to show it,” DuBois said. “It’s easy for me to say we will, but we’ve got to come out and do it.”