SALT LAKE CITY — Coming off his heroic game-winning 3-pointer five days earlier against UCLA, the one that made the No. 1 play on ESPN’s SportsCenter, Parker Van Dyke didn’t get his deserved ovation at the start of the Thursday's game with Arizona since he wasn’t in the starting lineup.
Then when he entered the game at the 17:05 mark, he actually was greeted by boos, a case of bad timing as the Ute crowd was upset about an offensive foul call against Both Gach and didn’t notice Van Dyke entering the game.
However, it didn’t take long for the Huntsman Center crowd to give Van Dyke his just due as he had the fans on their feet cheering him all night long thanks to one of the best shooting nights ever in the arena by a Ute player.
The former East High standout was red-hot from the 3-point range, making his first five and finishing with 7 of 10 on his way to a career-high 23 points, a big factor in only the second Utah victory over Arizona in 15 tries during the Pac-12 era.
“A little magic came home with me from Westwood, I guess,” said Van Dyke. “The shot’s feeling good, I’ve got a good rhythm, good confidence, my teammates are doing a good job of getting me open and getting me good shots. This is my senior year — this is the last go-around so I just try to play as confident as I’ve ever played before and let it fly.”
Former Ute and current Utah Jazz assistant coach Johnnie Bryant made eight 3-pointers against TCU in 2008, which was a record Van Dyke was aware of before coming into the game. After making five in the first half, he sank a three from the right angle to put the Utes up 53-49 at the 10:40 mark and then made one from out top at the 8:20 mark.
With 2:42 left and the Utes up by 10, Van Dyke tried an NBA-distance three with the shot clock running down that missed everything. Then as the Utes were trying to run out the clock in the final minute, Van Dyke got free for a 3-pointer on the left angle with 35 seconds left. The shot looked good and rattled around and out, eliciting groans from the crowd and leaving Van Dyke in a six-way tie on the Ute list with seven 3-pointers.
“I mean it wasn’t right in the forefront of my mind, but I noticed,” Van Dyke said about Bryant’s record. “That’s something I’ve known — last year Justin Bibbins got seven and was one off. That last one just rolled around the rim.”4 comments on this story
So did his performance Thursday night earn Van Dyke a spot in the starting lineup going forward? Not likely, according to coach Larry Krystkowiak.
He explained that he made the switch with Van Dyke and freshman Both Gach to give Gach some confidence and to provide some veteran leadership off the bench. So far it’s worked with three Ute victories.
“Parker doesn’t care, that’s the kind of character he has,” Krystkowiak said “It gave Both a nice jump-start and Parker’s kind of found his niche.”