We aren’t breaking out the scrapbook and we can’t afford to celebrate with what we’ve got looking forward. —Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak
CORVALLIS, Ore. — After completing their first Pac-12 road sweep of the Oregon schools, the Utah Utes return home for an even bigger challenge. They host No. 14 Arizona (11-3, 1-0) on Thursday and No. 4 Arizona State (12-1, 0-1) on Sunday.
“We aren’t breaking out the scrapbook and we can’t afford to celebrate with what we’ve got looking forward,” said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak. “There’s a lot of great teams in our league and there’s nothing magical about being at home. We’ve got to keep getting better. It’s about the next game.”
At 10-3 overall and 2-0 in Pac-12 play, though, the Utes enter the Arizona game on a high note with Sunday’s 66-64 win at Oregon State. Gill Coliseum has proven to be a challenging venue in recent years. The previous two visits resulted in narrow losses.
“It was a good team effort,” senior forward David Collette said after Utah withstood a late flurry to get the win.
Justin Bibbins scored a game-high 18 points and Collette added 12 as the Utes prevailed in a game featuring seven lead changes and four ties.
“We locked in. We played good defense all night,” Collette said. "... We made them miss and that’s what we need to do.”
For the trip, Utah held both Oregon and Oregon State to 41 percent shooting. The Ducks and Beavers were a combined 16-of-45 from 3-point range against the Utes over the weekend.
Utah wound up connecting on 21-of-50 shots from behind the arc. Bibbins had a hot hand, making nine of 16 from long range. He also topped the Utes with 18.5 points per game on the trip.
Collette said the 5-foot-8, 150-pound graduate transfer plays a lot bigger than listed.
“He brings a lot of intensity, a lot of fire and that's exactly what we need,” Collette said. “He’s a leader out there on the court.”
Bibbins noted that things are easier when he has bigs and guys that can space the floor — as well as scorers out there.
“So I’m just shooting open shots at this point,” he said.
Bibbins vows to keep on keeping on, so to speak.
“We’re just going to compete," Bibbins said. “I’m just going to compete every time I come out here to the best of my abilities.”
Based on national rankings, Utah faces some stiff competition this weekend in the Huntsman Center.
The Arizona schools played Saturday night in Tucson. Allonzo Trier led the Wildcats to an 84-78 victory with 23 points. Tra Holder had 31 for the Sun Devils.
No. 14 Arizona (11-3, 1-0)
at Utah (10-3, 2-0)
Thursday, 7 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 700AM
No. 4 Arizona State (12-1, 0-1)
Sunday, 6 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 700AM
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