Plagued by slow starts for most of the Pac-12 season, much of the blame goes to Utah’s offense, which has struggled for long periods to produce good looks at the basket.
The insertion of freshman point guard Brandon Taylor went a long way toward fixing that issue on Saturday afternoon.
Taylor — known to his teammates as Hollywood — made his first career start in Utah’s 58-55 win over Colorado before 10,977 at the Huntsman Center.
He scored seven points. He handed out just two assists. But his impact was obvious, as the offense ran smoothly in his 32 minutes on the court. Once an afterthought in Larry Krystkowiak’s rotation, Taylor is now becoming one of the most important members of the Utes.
“I just thought we were having some slow starts,” Krystkowiak said. “I thought we may be able to reverse that trend by shaking things up a little bit. I think we’ll look at it and see if we have to make any more changes for Oregon State on Wednesday.”
Taylor starting wasn’t the only thing new about the rotation. Freshman center Jeremy Olsen scored 12 points in 14 minutes, displaying a soft touch in the paint and the ability to finish down low. With Jordan Loveridge out with a knee injury, Krystkowiak played two centers in large stretches for the first time all season.
And Dallin Bachynski — who was thought to be out indefinitely with personal issues — made an impact with his activity. The sophomore center didn’t score in 10 minutes, but he had three rebounds and a blocked shot.
Most of all, Utah played mistake-free basketball, turning it over just 10 times. Undersized on the perimeter, the Utes held their own in the rebounding battle. And Jarred DuBois played well in a sixth man role, scoring 10 points and leading Utah with four assists.
“I liked the twin towers lineup,” Krystkowiak said. “It gave us some flexibility out there, and I thought we got the ball inside a lot. We had some success there.”