SALT LAKE CITY — Prior to Utah's 62-60 overtime win over Washington State on Thursday, head coach Larry Krystkowiak spoke with the Utes about the big picture.
"This isn't about winning and losing games it's really about our next point," he told them. "If we put together enough good next points and don't lose focus, we have a chance to compete."
The approach paid off as Utah went on to secure its first Pac-12 victory. Now comes a shot at No. 2. The Utes (4-10, 1-1) play host to Washington (8-6, 2-1) and former Pleasant Grove High star C.J. Wilcox Saturday at noon in the Huntsman Center.
Krsytkowiak acknowledges that one of the challenges will be keeping the Utes on an even keel. They experienced both ends of the spectrum this past week. Before outlasting the Cougars, Utah dropped a 40-point decision at Colorado.
"We all knew after we watched all the edits of the Colorado game that we weren't as bad as the final score and the way we all felt," Krystkowiak said. "We're probably not as good as we think we are right now, either."
The wide disparity in performances, though, isn't baffling to Krystkowiak.
"Contrary to the week before and the game where we tried taking shortcuts — and it ends up jumping up and biting you in the rump — I think we did it right this week," he said.
Krystkowiak had a feeling things were going to work out. He told his staff so during their pregame meal, referencing texts with his brother about having good vibes.
"I knew we were going to play hard and that's the part that was fun," Krystkowiak said. "... I knew we were going to be swinging and throwing punches and fighting for our lives. In that regard, I felt pretty good about it."
The Utes only used seven players in the game, but each made valuable contributions in a game that was tied on eight occasions and featured seven lead changes.
"Jiggy" Watkins hit the game-winning shot on a jumper with 3.3 seconds remaining. The senior finished with 20 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Jason Washburn and Dijon Farr also scored in double-figures, netting 11 and 10 respectively. Chris Hines added eight points, while Cedric Martin pulled down eight boards. Kareem Storey and Javon Dawson were effective off the bench.
Utes on the air
Washington (8-6, 2-1)at Utah (4-10, 1-1)
Radio: 700 AM
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Twitter: @DirkFacer