Utah basketball: The apparent trap â Utes to face OSU's tough 'D'
Corvallis, Ore. • Before each game, Larry Krystkowiak lists his team's goals on the chalkboard: One, two, three.
As Utah (6-22, 3-13) begins its final road trip of the season Thursday against Oregon State, though, he may want to label them 1-3-1.
The Beavers' trapping zone defense gave Utah fits on Feb. 4 at the Huntsman Center, as the Utes were blown out 76-58. Oregon State enters the game in ninth place in the Pac-12, despite leading the conference in scoring and this will be no surprise to the Utes steals.
That's generally not good news for a sloppy team like Utah, which committed 22 turnovers the last time the teams met. All the credit was given to coach Craig Robinson's 1-3-1 zone defense (imagine the five defenders lined up like a division sign).
The Utes, who still have not won on the road, now have to try to account for it in a hostile environment: Gill Coliseum, a 63-year-old arena that seats 10,400 (average attendance: 5,695).
"They're a talented team and they're going to bring the pressure and they're going to bring the intensity," said Krystkowiak. "They're at home, probably even more aggressive and they'll be flying up and down even more."
The Beavers average 9.32 steals per game.
Krystkowiak said that the Utes need to match their focus on avoiding traps with their own defensive intensity.
"We also have to be really interested in guarding them," the first-year coach said. "I don't think we spent enough time talking about guarding them last time. We didn't really have an answer. It's difficult to guard them, too, when you're turning it over."
Utah at Oregon State
P Gill Coliseum (Corvallis, Ore.)
Tipoff • Thursday, 8 p.m. Radio • 700 AM
Records • Utah 6-22, 3-13; Oregon State 15-13, 5-11
Series • Utah leads 12-8
Last meeting • Oregon State 76-58 (Feb. 4)
About the Utes • Utah has won once in 10 games in Corvallis, and not since 1949. â¦ Junior center Jason Washburn leads the Utes with 10.8 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.
About the Beavers • Oregon State leads the Pac-12 in scoring at 79.6 points per game, but also allows a conference-worst 73.2 points per game. â¦ Junior guard Jared Cunningham leads the Pac-12 with 18.4 points per game. He scored 20 points to lead all scorers against the Utes last month.