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Utah Utes basketball: Turnovers costly for the Utes at Washington State

Published: Thursday, Jan. 17 2013 6:35 p.m. MST

PULLMAN, Wash. — Even though Washington State shot 50 percent from the field, made 11 shots from 3-point range and had all five starters score in double figures, Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak pointed to another reason for the Utes’ 75-65 loss Wednesday night.

“Our adjustments needed to be offensively,” Krystkowiak said. “We’re just not playing with much flow right now offensively.”

The Utes turned the ball over 17 times, leading to 28 points for the Cougars.

“We talked this week about ‘Hey, let’s go out and make some plays’ and apparently we’re not the type of team that you can just go and make some plays,” Krystkowiak said. “We couldn’t outlet the ball and we couldn’t make a simple pass. It wasn’t like we were trying to do anything fancy, just simple passing and catching.”

With such a small margin for error, Krystkowiak said that the miscues put too much pressure on things overall.

“We’ve got to go make some plays offensively without turning the ball over,” he said after the Utes dropped their 12th consecutive game on the floor of a Pac-12 foe. “Until we can figure out a way to get some guys productive in an environment on the road, it’s going to be hard to win.”

As for the defense, Utah wasn’t all bad against Washington State. The Utes held all-conference forward Brock Motum scoreless in the first half and wound up with nine steals by game’s end.

“At some point when you’re evaluating a game it can’t all be what we didn’t do,” Krystkowiak said. “They’re Division I, Pac-12 basketball players, and they had some guys that stepped up and made some shots.”

The rim, he added, was huge for them.

“Utah has a great defense,” acknowledged Washington State coach Ken Bone. “They really do, and that’s a credit to our guys to be able to shoot the percentages they shot.”

Such praise, though, doesn’t change the fact that the Utes have lost five straight Pac-12 games and slipped under .500 at 8-9 overall.

Senior center Jason Washburn said they’ve simply got to hit shots and make stops in order to become the aggressors in games.

“It’s not a complicated game. We’ve got to make the plays that basketball teams need to make,” he said. “In order to win games we need to do it for 40 minutes.”

Washburn said that the Utes have a great, hard-working coaching staff and it’s up to the players to figure out a way to get it done.

When asked how, Washburn admitted that’s it’s hard to say because the Utes have yet to do it. Finding immediate solutions won’t be easy with a challenging road game at Washington (12-5, 4-0) on Saturday.

“We know we’ve got to go back to the board, prep and play a lot harder and play a lot different style of basketball when we go up against Washington,” Washburn said. “We’re not going to quit. We’re going to go in there thinking we’re going to win and we’re going to try to get this thing going.”

Email: dirk@desnews.com Twitter: @DirkFacer

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