Utah basketball: Utes head out on the road to face Washington, Washington State
Matt Gade, Deseret News
SALT LAKE CITY — After opening Pac-12 play with a split at home against the Oregon schools, Utah takes to the road this week. The Utes face Washington in Seattle on Wednesday and Washington State in Pullman, Wash., on Sunday.
“I think we’re eager to get on the road,” said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak, whose squad has only played one of its 14 games this season away from the Huntsman Center, thus far.
The lone journey was a 69-67 loss at Boise State on Dec. 3. Other than that, every other game the Utes have played has been up on the hill.
“We’re looking forward to it. We’ll be dialed in. We’ll have a game plan,” said Utah guard Brandon Taylor. “But road games are really tough — no matter what. It’s their crowd. Even if they hit like the slightest little shot they get some momentum or whatever.”
Even so, Taylor added that the Utes will be prepared.
“We’re really excited to go on the road and hit the Washington schools,” he said.
In sizing up the competition, Krystkowiak noted that the Huskies (9-6, 1-1) are playing well and that the Cougars (7-7, 0-2) are hard to play against in Pullman.
“It’s one at a time,” he said when it comes to conference challenges on the road.
The Utes are breaking the Washington swing into two trips. They’ll travel to Seattle on Tuesday and return Thursday on commercial flights. The Pullman segment will be done by charter — departing Saturday and heading back to Salt Lake City after the game on Sunday.
With the start of the semester on Monday, Krystkowiak noted that the travel schedule will help keep the players from missing too much school this week.
Utah hasn’t fared too well away from home since joining the Pac-12. The Utes are just 1-17 on the road in conference games over the past two seasons. The lone victory was a 74-65 upset of Washington last January in Seattle.
When asked if that will make this trip extra tough because of any sort of revenge factor the Huskies may have, Taylor said it’s something he’s not really thinking about.
“This year is basically a new team, you know, so we’re going in there with the mindset that we’ve never played this team before,” he explained. “So let’s do what we have to do and get a victory.”
Following Utah’s 80-69 win over Oregon State on Saturday, Utah guard Delon Wright acknowledged the challenges the Utes face on the road — starting with Washington.
“We have a tough game. I know that in past years we haven’t won too many road games, so I think we’re more than prepared,” Wright said. “We will be prepared to go and play against the Washington teams and try to get some W's.”
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