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Ravell Call , Ravell Call
Utah Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak instructs his team during NCAA basketball against the Utah State Aggies at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2017.
We've got to fix a bunch of things that are broken in the next couple days. That’s the reality. —Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak is still comparing Pac-12 play to a marathon. He continues to equates each game to 1.5 miles of a race.

“I used it Sunday and unfortunately I think we got a pretty good taste of both ends of the spectrum,” Krystkowiak said. “We’re not nearly as good as we thought we were after the Oregon State win, and I know we’re not as bad as we felt like we were after the USC loss.”

The latest setback — an 84-67 decision to the Trojans Sunday in Los Angeles — was Utah’s fourth straight. The Utes are 2-4 in conference entering this week’s home contests against Washington and Washington State.

Krystkowiak noted that they’re still three games away from the halfway point of the so-called marathon. He added there’s still a lot of basketball left to be played. In addition, Krystkowiak noted that the Utes have already played two of the top Pac-12 teams at home (Arizona, Arizona State) and two on the road (UCLA, USC),

“So it’s not time to, you know, head overboard at this point,” Krystkowiak said. “We just have to get back to some simpler things and mindset and hopefully our home crowd will give us a little enthusiasm and we can start feeling a little bit better about the game.”

In the meantime, Krystkowiak acknowledged that the Utes have work to do.

“We’ve got to fix a bunch of things that are broken in the next couple days,” he said. “That’s the reality.”

BACK AT IT: Freshman Donnie Tillman is optimistic about his future. The forward started and played 27 minutes against USC — finishing with 10 points and four rebounds — after missing 6 of 7 games with a sore foot.

“I think I’m getting better each day. I feel like I didn’t really lose too much of a step,” Tillman said. “I think I’ve just got to get my confidence back out there (and) get used to playing with my teammates and things, moving the ball.”

ROLLER-COASTER RIDE: Junior guard Sedrick Barefield has had his ups and downs as of late. Two weeks ago against the Arizona schools, Barefield made 14 of 29 shots from the field and connected on 11 of 21 attempts from 3-point range.

Things didn’t go so well on the Los Angeles trip. Barefield went 1 for 11 from the field and missed all eight 3-pointers he shot.

“I’m not worried about it. We need all the guys on our squad to step up and make plays,” Krystkowiak said. “It’s not unusual for college players to be on a little bit of a roller coaster, you know, finding some consistency.”

Krystkowiak noted that after Barefield’s success against Arizona and Arizona State, scouting reports employed by UCLA and USC made things more difficult in terms of putting length and pressure on him. Plus, open looks need to be made.

“We’ve got a lot of faith,” Krystkowiak said. “Those same shots went in the week before and hopefully they go in this week.”


Washington (13-5, 3-2) at Utah (10-7, 2-4)

Huntsman Center

Thursday, 8 p.m.

TV: Pac-12 Networks

Radio: ESPN 700AM

Twitter: @DirkFacer