SALT LAKE CITY — Chris Hines has fond memories of Utah's last win away from the Huntsman Center. He banked in a 3-pointer at the buzzer as the Utes shocked New Mexico, 62-60, in The Pit.
The date: Feb. 19, 2011.
"It does seem like a long time ago," Hines said. "I didn't know that was the last road win."
Since leaving Albuquerque victorious, Utah has lost 13 consecutive games outside of Salt Lake City. The lengthy skid includes 11 road and neutral-site games from this season, where losses have come by an average of 21.5 points. The only setback by less than 17 points was a 68-65 decision at Stanford on Jan. 12. The Utes missed 8-of-9 free throws that night.
After coming close, though, hard times returned. Lopsided losses at California (81-45), UCLA (76-49) and USC (62-45) followed.
"It has been really frustrating," Hines said. "But at the same time at least we're still working."
Utah returns to the road this week with games at Arizona State on Thursday and Arizona on Saturday.
"I'm in every game thinking we're going to win or doing whatever we can to win," said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "So the approach is no different."
What needs to change, however, are things like determination and fight on the road. Krystkowiak noted that taking care of the basketball and making free throws are other variables in success away from home.
"There's a lot of elements to winning the game," he said. "But usually it can start with our effort, and that's what we've been lacking on the road."
In the loss to last-place USC, Krystkowiak thought his team looked at where the Trojans were in the standings and didn't bring any kind of effort.
Now comes a different challenge. For the first time in the Krystkowiak era, the Utes are facing a team they beat handily earlier in the season. They overpowered the Sun Devils 64-43 in the Huntsman Center on Jan. 21.
"I hope our guys understand that we beat them by playing really hard and making shots," Krystkowiak said. "We just can't show up at their place and expect the same result."
It's an added variable in Utah's quest to pick up an elusive road win.
Hines acknowledges that lessons have been learned in the pursuit.
"I think as a team we have to know that on the road you have to play 10 times harder," he said. "We need to do that from the start."
Snapping the road skid would be a milestone for the rebuilding program.
"It's a goal of ours. We want to win the next game and it obviously brings some other things with it," Krystkowiak said, while adding that a breakthrough on the road would say a lot about the team and its willingness to kind of sort it out. "There's a limited number of games that we can win on the road that are left, so no time like the present."
Following the Arizona trip, Utah's remaining road games are at Oregon State on March 1 and Oregon on March 3. The Pac-12 Tournament begins March 7 at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.
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