Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Ute head coach Larry Krystkowiak has a few words for the referee, as the Utah Runnin' Utes faced the Savannah State Tigers, at the Huntsman Center, Saturday, November 23, 2013.
Utah Basketball: Utes look to be offensive vs. USC

Utah bogged down in losses at Washington, WSU

First Published Jan 15 2014 10:04 am • Last Updated Mar 24 2014 11:34 pm

The film session was on Monday. Two and a half hours of Larry Krystkowiak and his team going over every single offensive play of Sunday’s loss to Washington State.

On Tuesday, the Utes underwent an energetic practice in which Krystkowiak said his team was in "great spirits."

At a glance

USC at Utah

At The Huntsman Center

Tipoff » Thursday, 8 p.m.

TV » Pac-12 Network

Radio » 700 AM

Records » Utah 12-4 (1-3); USC 9-7 (0-3)

Series history » USC leads 17-15

Last meeting » Utah 69, USC 66 (March 13, 2013)

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

Will it all translate into better productivity Thursday when USC comes to the Huntsman Center? Can Utah shake the offensive doldrums that defined its first road trip this season in the Pac-12?

In losing to Washington and WSU, the Utes scored just 57 and 46 points, respectively. While it is debatable that Utah’s less-than-challenging non-conference schedule has played a role in its struggles — the Utes played just one road game in November and December — what can’t be argued is that the Utes look like a different team offensively than they did in the previous two months.

"We didn’t play hard offensively," Krystkowiak said. "We didn’t run hard offensively. We didn’t screen hard when we had the ball. And when you aren’t playing hard, the defense is playing harder than you. Guys weren’t getting open and when we did get open shots, we didn’t make them. I think karma kind of caught up with us in that regard, because we didn’t play hard enough offensively to deserve open shots."

So how does Utah fix things?

Krystkowiak said playing hard and screening hard ranks at the top of the list. He said the biggest lesson learned from last week is that effort is a two-way street. The Utes were great defensively, but that just kept them in games. They couldn’t score enough to win.

Players spoke of playing with pace, and of getting into their plays at a faster rate. On too many possessions, Utah would nonchalantly pass the ball around the top of the key and then be forced to make a play when the 35-second shot clock drifted under 10 seconds. It made for rushed shots, and put too much pressure on Delon Wright and Jordan Loveridge to make plays.

"We definitely have to play faster,," Loveridge said. "If we run the pick and roll, we need to get into it, instead of just walking around. If we go a little faster, I think things will get a little better."

In November and December, Utah was one of the top five scoring teams in the country. The Utes were one of the national leaders in two point field goal percentage. They were at the top of the conference in assists, and they were at the top in turnover margin.

story continues below
story continues below

Much of that went over the side in the two losses last week. Neither USC, nor UCLA — which visits the Huntsman Center Saturday — are great defensively. Both teams also play at a faster pace than Utah’s two opponents from last week, which could help the Utes offensively.

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.