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Utah basketball: Brandon Taylor has his groove back for Utes
First Published Feb 08 2014 10:09 pm • Last Updated Feb 08 2014 11:04 pm

Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said it was all about being consistent.

His sophomore point guard, Brandon Taylor, declared the game of basketball once again a fun endeavor.

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All the while, the last three games have proved both men correct.

Counting an 81-63 win over Washington State at the Huntsman Center on Saturday night, Taylor is having perhaps his best three-game stretch as a Ute. Against the Cougars, he scored 16 points, grabbed eight rebounds and handed out four assists. He dropped 20 over Washington on Thursday night, and had 17 in a loss to Colorado.

Now, he’s smiling again. He’s his usual sarcastic self. The low point of the season — a scoreless, 14-minute outing against Arizona — seems far away.

"I feel like I’m having fun again," Taylor said. "I’ve been trying not to think too much. I had been hesitating too much, and you can’t be good at basketball when you think out there. It’s good to build some confidence and it’s good to play well."

Krystkowiak’s been practically begging for someone to step up and take on the mantle of a third scorer, someone who can take some of the heat off Delon Wright and Jordan Loveridge. Taylor’s been that guy in the last three games.

Most importantly, he’s back to making 3-pointers and providing a shooting threat. More than that, he’s been aggressive on the court. He’s getting into the paint and drawing defenders. He’s making mid-range jumpers and he’s taking attention away from Wright and Loveridge in a good way.

As Utah improved to 16-1 at home on the season, Taylor has emerged as a reliable offensive threat. That’s caused his minutes to soar.

"It’s good to get multiple guys involved in the offense," Krystkowiak said. "What we need is to have that same production on the road. We had a balanced attack tonight, and that’s what we need on every night."

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Twitter: @tjonessltrib

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