SALT LAKE CITY — One rebound made a big difference in Utah’s 55-54 overtime loss at Arizona State. Had the Utes been able to secure it, they may have prevailed in last month’s Pac-12 opener.
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak called it a “50-50 ball” that wound up in the hands of the Sun Devils, giving them a second shot at wiping out a 49-46 deficit with just more than one minute to play in regulation.
A missed 3-point attempt by Jonathan Gilling was rebounded by ASU center Jordan Bachynski, who then kicked it out to Jahii Carson. The freshman wound up forcing overtime by drilling his only 3-point shot of the game.
“That’s one of those moments of truth where if we get the loose ball then they have to foul and the complexion of the game is different,” Krystkowiak said.
Little things, he explained, can end up becoming big things.
In Saturday’s 73-64 loss at Oregon, rebounding evolved into a sizable issue. The Utes were outrebounded 41-19 and allowed the Ducks to grab 19 offensive boards. The discrepancies led to a pivotal 24-6 Oregon advantage in second-chance points.
Krystkowiak said Utah’s rebounding woes were due to a combination of things. There were times, he explained, where the Utes blocked out but were outjumped or pushed underneath the basket during the physical contest. In other situations, Krystkowiak thought they shouldn’t have tried to block out because of advantages on the weak side.
“All they need to do is turn, get their hands up and find the ball coming off the rim,” Krystkowiak said. “It was an interesting deal because the shot was taken and we would turn and try to block somebody out. By the time we were doing that somebody else was inside of them and the ball caromed off the rim really fast and we weren’t able to even get our hand on it because we weren’t ready.”
Rebounding, he continued, involves being in a stance defensively and having an awareness of when a shot is taken.
It’s something the Utes have pinpointed on film and have worked on as they prepare for Wednesday night’s rematch with Arizona State in the Huntsman Center.
When the teams played Jan. 2 in Tempe, the Utes outrebounded Arizona State by a 44-39 margin. Senior center Jason Washburn had a monster game with 19 points, 18 rebounds and four blocks.
Things, obviously, didn’t go as smoothly last weekend in Oregon. Although Washburn had 20 points and seven rebounds against Oregon, the Utes didn’t develop much of an inside game. They didn’t get a single rebound from the power forward position.
Allowing the Ducks to get so many offensive boards — 11 in the first half and eight in the second — proved to be pivotal even though the Utes did hold a 30-22 lead after 20 minutes.
“I think that’s why we were only up eight at halftime. I think if we had grabbed just a few of those offensive boards we would have been up more than 10 easily and same with the second half,” said Washburn, who added that easy buckets lead to momentum. “It’s a game of runs and they went on one.”
EXTRA STUFF: ASU is led by Carson (17.9 ppg, 5.1 apg) and senior forward Carrick Felix (14.4 ppg, 8 rpg). ... The Sun Devils are coming off a 62-59 loss at home to Stanford. ... This will be the second meeting between the Bachynski brothers — Jordan (9.7 ppg, 3.8 bpg) is ASU’s starting center and Dallin is a Utah reserve. ... The Utes play host to Arizona on Sunday.
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Utes on the air
Arizona State (18-6, 7-4) at Utah (10-13, 2-9)
Wednesday, 6 p.m.
TV: Pac-12 Networks
Radio: ESPN 700AM