Utah Utes center Branden Carlson (35) dunks during the game against the Oregon Ducks at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021. | Spenser Heaps, Deseret News
Aside from a four-minute stretch early in the second half, Utah went toe-to-toe with No. 17 Oregon on Saturday before falling 79-73 at the Huntsman Center
When the Utah Utes figure out how to play a complete 40-minute game, they are going to be a force to be reckoned with in the Pac-12 this season, coach Larry Krystkowiak said Sunday as his squad turned its attention to Monday’s showdown with rival Colorado at the Huntsman Center.
Utah had No. 17 Oregon on the ropes Saturday night at the Huntsman Center, leading 43-33 at halftime, but struggled the first four minutes of the second half, didn’t make some open shots down the stretch and fell 79-73 in the first game of a four-game homestand.
Tipoff against Colorado is at 4 p.m. and the game will be televised by the Pac-12 Network.
“We managed to take the lead again after we got overtaken in the second half, but that first three or four minutes coming out of the locker room was the story of the game I thought, where things got away from us,” Krystkowiak said.
The coach liked the way the Utes (4-4, 1-3 Pac-12) responded “once we did get punched in the mouth to start the second half,” but the damage was done and Oregon owned the final few minutes to complete its mountain swing with a split, having lost to Colorado on Thursday.
“So part of closing some games out is some experience, and just clicking a little bit more, making some more plays along the way. It is a lot of the little things, and that’s what our team needs to focus on. It is the next play mentality, and we did a really good job of that for 30 minutes, and things got away from us with the turnovers.” — Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak
A few shaky moments also kept the Utes from upsetting UCLA on New Year’s Eve when the Bruins eked out a 72-70 win at Pauley Pavilion. Just when the Utes got a couple other problems cleaned up — rebounding and inconsistent shooting — some new ones surfaced: turnovers and the failure to finish.
“So part of closing some games out is some experience, and just clicking a little bit more, making some more plays along the way,” Krystkowiak said. “It is a lot of the little things, and that’s what our team needs to focus on. It is the next play mentality, and we did a really good job of that for 30 minutes, and things got away from us with the turnovers, I thought tonight.”
Krystkowiak switched up his starting lineup in an effort to get better defenders on the floor earlier in the game, and the move paid off as Utah controlled the first half. Riley Battin and Pelle Larsson started in the place of Branden Carlson and …read more
Source:: Deseret News – Sports News