SALT LAKE CITY — One of Dallin Bachynski’s goals in his first year for the Utah basketball team was to earn a starting spot. He never dreamed it would come in just his third game with the Utes.
His amended goal after Wednesday night’s 57-46 win over Idaho State is to keep his starting spot for the rest of the season. And as long as the 6-11 center keeps playing like he did Wednesday, that should be a certainty.
Bachynski finished with 22 points and 16 rebounds as he kept the Utes in the game early and then keyed a second-half comeback with his offense and rebounding.
He’ll undoubtedly be in the starting lineup Friday (5 p.m. tip) when the Utes face Central Michigan in the second game of their Thanksgiving Tournament.
Coach Larry Krystkowiak isn’t making any promises, but he sure liked what he saw from the sophomore from Calgary against the Bengals. He said Bachynski got the start over senior Jason Washburn because of his strong play in practice recently.
“We want to dangle the carrot in front of some guys and say, ‘if you produce and get after it in a practice setting, you may get a chance to start,’ ” Krystkowiak said. That’s what happened with Bachynski, who was told Monday he would be getting the start.
Although Krystkowiak said his starting lineups can change from game to game — he’s used three different lineups in three games — he also said he likes the idea of the high-energy Bachynski giving the Utes an early spark and the experienced Washburn playing in a reserve role.
“Wash is pretty good coming off the bench,’’ Krystkowiak said. “Dallin has that energy initially where I know he’s going to get on the floor and give us that burst. Wash coming in as a substitute is worth a look.’’
While Bachynski dominated inside against Idaho State, the rest of the team was having a hard time scoring. Freshman Jordan Loveridge shot just 2 for 10 from the field, while Glen Dean was 3 for 9 and Justin Seymour and Jarred DuBois each went 1 for 5
Washburn, who started every game last year and led the team in scoring (11.4 ppg) and rebounding (6.2 rpg), played just seven minutes, scoring six points and grabbing two rebounds in his limited time. It marked his lowest number of minutes in his 93-game career at Utah.
Central Michigan comes into Friday’s game at 2-1 after beating Wright State 59-55 in Wednesday’s first game of the round-robin tournament. Senior guard Kyle Randall (13.6 ppg) led the way with 13 points for a balanced Chippewas team. All 10 players scored in the game, and five players end up with six points.
Idaho State and Wright State will play Friday at 7:45 p.m.
The Utes will play their final game of their initial Thanksgiving Tournament Saturday at 7:30 p.m. against Wright State. Then next week they go on the road for their first two road games Wednesday against SMU and Friday at Texas State.