Utes blow past Washington State
Not bad. Not bad at all, Utes. The win itself wasn't what was most impressive; it was the way they won. Utah is the far superior team and looked like it for most of the 40 minutes Saturday night. Washington State came in to the game with just 2 conference wins, one of them against the Utes, and never really threatened during this game at all. Washington State's leaders played well and got some buckets, but Utah just dominated the game in every way imaginable. With the win, the Utes surpassed their win total of 15 that they got last year and notched win number 16 on the year. When asked about the significance of passing the win total from a year ago, Krystkowiak didn't give it much thought. He said that because of the easy non-conference schedule it's hard to truly know what getting 16 wins means at this point. He then suggested that the non-conference schedules Utah will put together in the future would be more challenging for his squad.
What impressed me about the win against Washington State was they way Utah executed their offense. The passing was crisp, there was a lot of patience; Utah knew what shot they wanted and it seemed like most of the time, they got it. The Utes shot 52% from the field on the night including 7-15 from beyond the arc. Utah's offensive attack was very balanced as 9 players scored, 6 of which scored in double figures. Brandon Taylor continued his good play by leading the Utes in scoring with 16 points. Taylor also added 8 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal. Delon Wright had another solid night by scoring 11 points, 9 assists, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and a block. A welcoming sign for this Utah team is the improved play by Utah's "others". Princeton Onwas scored 10 points in 13 minutes of play including a breakaway dunk in the final minutes of the game. Coach Krystkowiak said that earlier in the season when Onwas wasn't getting much playing time that Onwas showed up with some fire and energy in practice and that he's earned his minutes ever since. The Utes have done a good job at developing the depth on the roster as the season has progressed. Washington State was led by Davontae Lacy and D.J. Shelton who combined for 41 of the 63 points scored by the Cougars. Lacy, who scored 34 points against the Buffaloes in the previous game, was contained by the Utes and despite his 22 points, you never felt like he was doing a whole lot offensively. Shelton carried the Cougars early on and finished with 19 points on 8-16 shooting. Other than Lacy and Shelton, no one else scored in double figures for Washington State. The Utes won the battle of field goal percentage, rebounds, assists and steals. Utah had 17 turnovers against Washington, but only had 8 against Washington State.
With the win, the Utes improved to 5-6 in conference play and because of the events of the weekend, they moved up to 7th place in the Pac-12. Up next for Utah is a crucial road trip. They've yet to win a road game, which would be damning for their postseason hopes if that trend continues. Their best shot to get that road win comes on Thursday night as they pay the woeful USC Trojans a visit. USC is just 1-4 in conference play t home and has lost 4 straight overall. My early thoughts on this game is that it will be a tough win for the Utes; USC played Stanford and UCLA tough in their last two home games, but haven't been able to close the deal. Competing on the road hasn't been the problem for the Utes, they've had second half leads in all of their road games this season, but haven't been able to close the deal. They'll eventually get a road win and I think that happens Thursday night in Los Angeles.
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