The Utah men’s basketball team has leaned heavily on the interior scoring of senior forward David Collette this season. Collette, who scored a season-high 24 points in 18 minutes in Friday’s win over Eastern Washington, has shot 60 percent from the field and averaged 14.7 points per game through six games.
Utah men’s basketball coach Larry Krystkowiak wants to see his team get the ball into the paint even more.
“You’ve got to have a little bit of a blend,” Krystkowiak said on Tuesday. “The ball has got to get into the paint. There’s different ways that that can happen. Post feed is one of them. We had far too many turnovers a couple games ago when we threw the ball into the paint, and we needed to make wiser decisions. We worked extensively [Monday] on our bigs trying to make our perimeter guys better.”
During the Utes’ first game in Las Vegas last week against Ole Miss, they struggled initiating offense in the first half and getting the ball into the post. Collette said
Eventually, in the second half, the Utes were able to work inside-out and use the defense’s reaction to the ball in the post to get opened up opportunities for Justin Bibbins’ 21-point half that included five 3-pointers.
The Utes are shooting 32 percent from behind the 3-point line.
“Just because we throw it inside doesn’t mean it’s all or nothing,” Krystkowiak said. “I think we can get some of our perimeter shooters some, you know, on-balance expected 3-point shots as our bigs are passing it back out to them. … And we need dribble penetration. We don’t get to the foul line very often. It doesn’t have to just be post moves. It’s got to be guys that are able to get into the paint, maybe get contact and get to the free throw line, get into the early bonus.”
Collette leads the team in free throw attempts (32) followed by freshman forward Donnie Tillman (21) and senior forward Tyler Rawson (18).
Hawaii at Utah
At Jon M. Hunstman Center
Tipoff: 5 p.m.
TV: Pac-12 Network
Bring on the games
The Utes completed a stretch of six games in the first two weeks of the season with Friday’s win over Eastern Washington. While Krystkowiak has likened the stretch to an NBA schedule with limited time between games to practice and go over game plans, Collette had a simpler description: fun.
“It actually wasn’t that bad,” Collette said. “We’re all young and ready to play. You know, that’s the kind of stuff we love, and that’s what we’re here for. For us it was just a lot of fun.”
The Utes will have had a full week off when they host Hawaii at 5 p.m. on Saturday as part of the doubleheader with the women playing at 2:30 p.m.
“We should of had three more games by now,” Collette joked.
The Utes went into Tuesday ranked eighth in NCAA Div. I in 3-point field goal percentage defense. They’ve held opponents to 24.1 percent shooting from behind the arc. Overall, Utes opponents have shot 39 percent from the field this season. Just two of their opponents (Ole Miss and UNLV) shot better than 40 percent in the six games this season.