1 of 2
Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News
Utah Utes forward Javon Dawson (21) and Brigham Young Cougars forward/center Nate Austin (33) compete for the ball in Salt Lake City Saturday, Dec. 10, 2011.
You're never as good as you think you are and you're never as bad as you think you are. I would like to believe some of those dismal performances early that we were a better than (how) we played at that time.

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's eight-game losing skid is over and now comes an opportunity for the Utes to start their first winning streak under Larry Krystkowiak. They'll attempt to follow Friday's 71-59 win over Idaho State with a victory over Portland Monday night in the Huntsman Center.

Krystkowiak said the situation reminded him of an old saying he heard in the NBA.

"You're never as good as you think you are and you're never as bad as you think you are," Krystkowiak noted. "I would like to believe some of those dismal performances early that we were a better than (how) we played at that time."

The important thing, he added, is the effort.

"We've laid it on the line the last couple games, the last 80 minutes and we certainly need to build off that," Krystkowiak said.

There were plenty of positives in the win over Idaho State. The Utes had a season-high in points — scoring 22 points off of turnovers. Junior college transfers Cedric Martin and Dijon Farr netted career highs with 19 and 16 points, respectively. Veteran Jason Washburn nearly had a double-double with 17 points and nine rebounds.

Utah shot 54.2 percent from the field in the second half while outscoring the Bengals 40-25 to earn the come-from-behind victory.

"I think you earn what you get," Krystkowiak said. "The guys have been fighting like heck and I think the rim opened up for us a little bit and guys were comfortable."

Martin was particularly hot, making 5-of-9 shots from 3-point range.

"That's what shooting in the gym does for you," he said. "I was in the gym everyday just making shots."

The Utes, Martin continued, are starting to feel more comfortable after some new plays were added to the zone offense.

Krystkowiak credited assistant coaches Tommy Connor and Norm Parrish for putting together a nice plan. The players, he continued, did a nice job of learning the sets and making plays.

"I thought that was a key to us shooting the ball as well as we did," Krystkowiak said.

Now comes the encore.

Portland (3-8) come to town with an 0-5 record and four consecutive losses overall. The Pilots' only victories have come against Florida Atlantic (70-65), Georgia State (66-61) and Lewis & Clark College (76-64). Sophomore forward Ryan Nicholas tops the team with 11.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

On Thursday, Utah faces Weber State in Ogden.

Utes on the air

Portland Pilots (3-8) at Utah Utes (2-8)

Monday, 7 p.m.

Huntsman Center

TV: none; Radio: 700 AM

mail: [email protected]. Twitter: @DirkFacer