SALT LAKE CITY — Utah freshmen Timmy Allen, Riley Battin and Both Gach are coming of age. The trio combined for 40 points in last week's 88-70 win over Washington State.
“They’re great. Both, Riley and Timmy, they’re playing like juniors and seniors and we’re going to need them to do that,” said senior Parker Van Dyke. “So I’m just really proud of them. They can really help us do some special things and I’m excited for them going into the future.”
Van Dyke praised the freshmen for both their leadership and play. Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak has also been complimentary of the group, although he noted there is still growth to take place — some physical, some involving adjustments to the level of play.
“The more experiences these guys have, the more they’re going to mature,” he said.
Krystkowiak added that the guys need to understand that “there’s really good players at this level and you can’t put your guard down for one minute.”
In the Washington State game, Allen finished with team-highs in points (15) and rebounds (9). Gach scored 14 points and made six of seven shots from the field, and Battin added 11 points with four assists and four rebounds.
Besides the three freshmen on the active roster, the Utes also have forward Lahat Thioune and guard Naseem Gaskin — both will most likely redshirt at this point.
“We’re a deep group I think. We’ve got somebody at every position,” said Allen, who mentioned Gaskin and Thioune. “We’re going to be a problem in the coming years, so just keep your eye out — for sure.”
In the meantime, Utah (8-8, 2-2) is struggling to get above .500. The Utes face Colorado Sunday (4 p.m., ESPNU) in the Huntsman Center.
“If we want to have a shot at winning the Pac-12 championship we’ve got to continue to get better every single day — continue to go hard every single day,” said senior guard Sedrick Barefield. “But I’m confident that these guys are locked in and they understand how open the Pac-12 is right now and the opportunity ahead of us.”
Barefield added that the whole team is pretty focused in that regard.
“We’ve got to start getting more wins,” he said. “We understand that and we understand kind of just what the layout is ahead of us and the opportunities that are going to be presented to us. So we just have to be ready.”4 comments on this story
EXTRA STUFF: Colorado holds a 27-22 lead in the all-time series, although Utah has won eight of the past nine games . . . The Utes are 14-8 against the Buffaloes in the Huntsman Center . . . Sophomore guard McKinley Wright IV, who leads Colorado in scoring (12.9 ppg) and assists (5.3 apg), may not play because of a shoulder injury. Sophomore guard Tyler Bey (12 ppg) tops the Buffs in rebounds (9.1 rpg).
Colorado (10-6, 1-3) at Utah (8-8, 2-2)
- Huntsman Center
- Sunday, 4 p.m.
- TV: ESPNU
- Radio: ESPN 700 AM