Weber State made the Utes feel very small Thursday night.
It wasn't just the 80-51 drubbing or the reduction of a two-game winning streak to a delightful uptick in a season of misery. Legitimately, the Utes were too small to contend with the Big Sky Wildcats. This, of course, is not entirely unexpected for a team that saw its 7-foot-3 center go down to injury in the exhibition season and whose frontline is limited.
Jason Washburn (6-foot-10) and Javon Dawson (6-foot-6) are essentially it for the Utes in the post, at least as far as traditional big men. And they were stymied by the stable of thick post players the Wildcats threw at them.
"We have to use the tools we have," Washburn said. "We can't make excuses like that. If we're undersized, we've got to use our quickness.
The Utes were outrebounded 32-21 and outscored in the post 22-14. Dawson had a career-high 8 points while Washburn had 8 points and 8 rebounds.
Weber State freshman James Hajek is 6-10, 250 pounds. He scored 10 points and was critical for a stretch in which the Wildcats outscored the Utes 17-3 to put the Utes in a stranglehold. Kyle Tresnak, 6-10, 255: 10 points. Byron Fulton, Darin Mahoney: combined for 12 more points.
"I was disappointed that they whipped us pretty good in the post," Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak said.
With injured center David Foster still weeks away from even finding out how much recovery time he will need for his broken foot, the Utes don't have many options, short of eating wheatgrass and compensating by beating teams with their speed (like Washburn said). Problem is, there aren't going to be many Pac-12 teams that can't adjust to match the Utes strengths.
The Utes can only hope Weber State's post success wasn't a harbinger of things to come as they enter the Pac-12.
— Bill Oram
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