SALT LAKE CITY — Perhaps it shouldn't have been surprising that the Utah basketball team committed a season-high 23 turnovers in Saturday's loss to Oregon State.
After all, the Beavers have been forcing turnovers at a high rate all season and came into the game ranked third in the nation in steals with 10.1 per game.
However against the Utes, the Beavers had a field day, getting 16 steals against the error-prone Utes with Joe Burton getting six and Jared Cunningham four. It made for a long day for the Utes, especially freshman point guard Kareem Storey, who had nine turnovers after getting just one Thursday night against Oregon.
"We looked very scared and out of sorts," said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak, who was clearly unhappy with his team's performance. "That's a team that recruits to length in a 1-3-1 trap and it's like a shark — if they get a little sniff of blood in the water it's going to become magnified and that much harder to deal with."
Krystkowiak said his team was well aware of what they were facing with a 6-foot-9 player with a 7-foot wingspan in Devon Collier at the top of the 1-3-1 zone.
"That's where it starts and then there's more and more length," he said. "That's the biggest team we've seen. There are some thoroughbreds out there with a lot of length and a lot of what they do is predicated on their pressure. They got a lot of deflections and took us out of what we wanted to do."
The Ute players said it was hard to practice for what they faced Saturday.
"They had a lot of length and athleticism and that's not something we can simulate too much in practice," said Jason Washburn. "We had trouble executing, they bothered us a little bit and we didn't do what we needed to do to make the right plays."
"It was a struggle for us," added Cedric Martin. "We had to attack them and bring them to us and find the open man and they're really long. A lot of our turnovers came from that."
WASHBURN BLOCKS: There isn't much positive in a game where you have five more turnovers than field goals, get outrebounded by nine and shoot just 40 percent from the field.
Well, there were a couple of positive things Krystkowiak mentioned after Saturday's loss.
The most obvious was the eight blocked shots by Washburn, which doubled his career best of four. The eight blocks was third-best in Ute history, behind two games by David Foster in the 2009-10 season.
The other was free throw shooting as the Utes made 17 of 22 for 77.3 percent for their second straight solid performance from the line.
The Utes finished with 10 blocks on the night as Martin and George Matthews each came up with a block.
Part of the reason for all the blocks was because the Beavers were driving to the basket all night, eschewing long shots for the most part.
The Beavers didn't make a single 3-pointer on the night in nine attempts, but did score 50 of their points in the paint.
"They were driving and trying to go up on our guys and use their height on our guards," said Washburn. "I was just in the right place at the right time."
Washburn admitted he was a little surprised to be credited with eight blocks, saying, "Yeah I was surprised at eight, but I'll take it."
"I thought he had a good presence and nice timing," Krystkowiak said. "That was a bright spot for us around the rim."