SEATTLE — In the wake of Wednesday’s 62-45 loss at Washington, Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said he didn’t want to beat his guys up. He chose to give the Huskies a bunch of credit, adding that the Pac-12’s runaway leaders are a good team.
“We’re not the only team that’s dysfunctional against that type of length,” Krystkowiak said.
The Utes had a tough time against Washington’s zone. They wound up going nearly 16 minutes, at one point, without a field goal. By the time that dry spell ended, Washington had a comfortable double-digit lead and cruised to victory.
Utah shot 28 percent (14 of 50) from the field and was outscored 36-12 in the paint. The Utes turned the ball over 18 times, resulting in 17 points for the Huskies. Seven missed free throws didn’t help, either.
Krystkowiak noted that “there’s a million things that go into scoring.”
Utah opened the game with a 17-7 run, but Washington wound up leading 33-27 at halftime.
“I thought the first half the story was that we didn’t finish at the rim. We had a number of point-blank looks and we got intimidated at the rim. We don’t make shots. We don’t get to the free-throw line,” Krystkowiak said. “The second half it's a whole different story. We didn’t get great ones. I thought their energy picked up.”
Washington eventually built its lead to 22 points.
“I’m not going to evaluate our offense at this point based on how it went against Washington’s zone. There’s reason they’re first place in our league at field goal defensive percentage,” Krystkowiak said. “It’s very unique and we’ll try to improve some things, but we’ve got to move on to a different team Saturday.”
The Utes (14-12, 8-6) face Washington State (11-15, 4-9) in Pullman. The Cougars knocked off Colorado 76-74 on Wednesday.
“They’re playing as well as anybody in the conference right now,” said Krystkowiak, who reiterated that it's time for the Utes to think about what they can control.
Avoiding lengthy dry spells is an obvious concern.
Senior guard Parker Van Dyke agreed with his coach that a combination of things went wrong against Washington. The Huskies, he added, have a tough zone with a lot of activity and length.
“When you catch the ball, you’re a little hesitant because you’re not quite sure if you’re open for a shot or whatever,” Van Dyke said. “So they really make you make plays and they kind of put you out of your comfort zone. And then also, when we did get good shots we just didn’t hit them like we usually do.”
Utah’s lone double-digit scorer was senior guard Sedrick Barefield. He finished with 12 points, making four 3-pointers in the first seven minutes of play.6 comments on this story
“I still think that we’re a great team. Every team has struggled against their zone this year,” Barefield said. “So it’s one of those things that we’re going to put behind us right now and try to go to Washington State and get a ‘W,” which I think we’re completely capable of.”
Van Dyke is also confident the Utes can get back on track after the lopsided loss.
“This was not a normal road appearance for us. We usually play much better,” he said. “But now we just have to bounce back. This game is behind us.”
Utah (14-12, 8-6) at Washington State (11-15, 4-9)
- Beasley Coliseum — Pullman, Wash.
- Saturday, 7 p.m. (MT)
- TV: P12N
- Radio: ESPN 700AM