Utes grind out tough win against Washington
The Utes returned home from a tough 3-game road trip and got back to their winning ways. Utah moved to 15-1 at on the year and 4-6 in Pac-12 play, though it did not come easy Thursday night. Through the first 20 minutes, the Utes turned the ball over 10 times and many of those were unforced mistakes. The offense wasn't flowing and they weren't playing with a lot of intensity. In his post game interview, Coach Krystkowiak said just because Utah was playing at home, he knew that his team would still have to fight and earn the win. When asked how it felt to end the 3-game skid, Krystkowiak said that losing, "builds a little bit, there's a little bit of stress and feel good, stress when you're losing those games and some feel good when you're winning them." He knew that the Utes were "backed into a corner" and had a chance to either falter or rise up to the challenge and get the win. In the tough and gritty fashion that we're used to seeing with this team, the Utes clawed their way to victory.
Utah was led by their three team leaders Delon Wright, Jordan Loveridge and Brandon Taylor who combined for 55 of Utah's 78 points. Loveridge, who had played poorly against Colorado in Utah's last game, was able to bounce back and go for 16 points, 13 rebounds, 3 assists and a block. The downside to his game tonight was the 7 turnovers that he committed. He played well and had a strong presence on the court for Utah. Wright had a usual night by going for 19 points on 7-9 shooting, 5 assists, 4 rebounds, 3 steals and a block. Brandon Taylor followed up his 17 point effort against the Buffaloes by scoring 20 points on 5-11 shooting and dishing out 3 assists. Washington was led by local kid, C.J. Wilcox who scored 20 points on 6-12 shooting, grabbing 4 rebounds and dishing out 2 assists. With his 20 points on the night, Wilcox moved into 5th place in all-time scoring in Washington history. Nigel Williams-Goss also added 19 points for the Huskies, but also committed 5 of Washington's 13 turnovers on the game.
Up next for the Utah Utes is Washington State. The Cougars defeated the Utes on January 12th by the score of 49-46 in Utah's worst loss of the season. Utah hasn't won on the road yet and so they need to value the home games that they have left. The Cougars and the Utes tip-off on Saturday at 6:00 pm. My early thoughts on the game are that the Utes should get some revenge on the lowly Cougars in convincing fashion. The Utes played in front of another great home crowd against the Huskies and will need another one against Washington State. Be there and cheer loud to help the Utes get the victory.
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