Utah basketball: Kyle Kuzma sits out against Oregon with ankle injury

First Published      Last Updated May 22 2017 03:43 pm

Utah notes » The junior forward was injured in practice.

Eugene, Ore. • For an ESPN-televised contest against No. 7 Oregon — a game Utah hoped could turn its fortunes for a long-shot NCAA Tournament bid — the team's top veteran had to sit with another injury.

The Utes announced shortly before the game that junior forward Kyle Kuzma, who leads the team in scoring (15.7 ppg) and rebounding (10.2 ppg), would not play after suffering a sprained ankle in Wednesday's practice. Junior forward Tyler Rawson (6.7 ppg, 4.2 rpg) started in his place against the Ducks.

It was the third start Kuzma, the longest-tenured player on the team, has missed this season after spraining his ankle in Hawaii. Entering the game, Kuzma led the Pac-12 in double-doubles with 15 on the season.

The Utes were without the 6-foot-9 player who led in scoring (18 points) and rebounding (nine) in their previous game against Oregon, a 73-67 loss in January at the Huntsman Center.

No other Utes or Ducks missed the start with injury.

Change in the lineup

For the first time since December, Sedrick Barefield was a Utah starter.

The sophomore started at Oregon, the latest change for a lineup that has gotten off to slow starts. Coach Larry Krystkowiak hinted that he would change the starting lineup after Utah faced substantial first-half deficits in three of its previous four games. Barefield replaced senior Lorenzo Bonam for the second time this season after starting two games in Hawaii. It was Barefield's first start in Pac-12 play.

Not that it changed much about the slow starts on a night when Kuzma wasn't available: Utah trailed by as much as 21 in the first half.

The Utes also gave sophomore Parker Van Dyke his third straight start. With Rawson also starting, it comprised the eighth different lineup Utah has used this year.


Oregon debuted neon green uniforms on Thursday night that glowed when exposed to blacklight. ... Utah athletic director Chris Hill traveled to Thursday's game, completing a full personal sweep of Pac-12 basketball arenas.


Twitter: @kylegoon