SALT LAKE CITY — Will this be the time?
After coming up short in four other opportunities, the Utah Utes are once again in position to do something they haven’t done since they joined the Pac-12 last season — win back-to-back conference games.
Following Saturday’s 58-55 win over Colorado, though, Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak wasn’t necessarily thinking about it. The Utes visit Oregon State on Wednesday and Oregon on Sunday.
“Every time we’ve talked about momentum it hasn’t worked out real well,” Krystkowiak said.
Losses have followed all of Utah’s previous Pac-12 victories, including a 74-65 win at Washington on Jan. 19. The Utes returned from Seattle and dropped home games to California (62-57) and Stanford (87-56) before righting the ship against Colorado.
The Utes had lengthier tailspins last season. They lost four straight games after an overtime win over Washington State; eight following a victory over Arizona State; and dropped three straight after a triumph against Stanford.
Past shortcomings and successes, however, take a backseat to the present in Utah’s collective mindset.
“The last thing I want to talk about doing is momentum,” Krytskowiak said. “It’s still kind of the next possession mentality that we have.”
Although the ending was dramatic, the approach served the Utes well on Saturday. Krystkowiak acknowledged that they had a really good week of practice and the guys were focused.
As such, Krytskowiak said they were “thrilled to get the win” over the Buffaloes. Even so, he noted that the Utes have some game situations to work on. They nearly squandered a 22-point lead over the final 12 minutes.
Utah managed to hold on, however — something that didn’t happen in several games earlier in the season.
“It’s absolutely a confidence-booster. Coach K always says winning is the best medicine and it boosts all of our morale,” said center Jason Washburn. “We’re going to head to Oregon next week — against two very good teams — with a win right behind us. It’s going to feel good. We’re going to feel confident. We’re going to go in there and we’re going to try to pull some wins out of that.”