After traveling to California for the Wooden Legacy and going 1-2 in those three games with a win against Grand Canyon and losses against Hawaii and Northwestern, the Utes are returning home to take on the Tulsa Golden Hurricane.
The Hurricane have played well throughout this season as they won their first four games of the season, before dropping two games to No. 5 Nevada and Southern Illinois. Coming off of back-to-back losses, the Hurricane will have added motivation coming into Saturday.
The story is the same for the Utes as they took some tough losses in California this past week. The most recent loss came against Northwestern in which the Utes fell 79-57.
The final score won’t say much in this Utes’ loss, however, Coach Kyrstkowiak was encouraged after the Wooden Legacy games.
“I thought it was definitely a much more physical game on their side,” Krystkowiak said after Utah’s loss to Northwestern. “They took us out of cuts. I didn’t think we were playing very hard on offense in the first half. 13 turnovers and yet we were only down four, it was encouraging.”
The Utah offense had trouble getting their footing against Northwestern, and the team committed 21 turnovers in that game. The sloppy offense made point production all the more difficult, and made it tough to find offensive flow throughout the game.
“Number of shots is key, and I think we just shot ourselves in the foot with the number of turnovers we had. We just almost 50%, it wasn’t glaring that way, but we just didn’t get enough shots” Krystkowiak said.
The Utes will bank on their home court advantage against the Hurricane to break the skid. The team is a perfect 2-0 at the Huntsman Center this season.
From the first exhibition match-up to now, Krystkowiak believes that there’s a lot of work to be done for this young and inexperienced roster.
“We have to get back to Utah, back to the drawing board and we have a lot of work to do as a coaching staff to make some improvement and we look forward to that process.”
Tip-off for the game will be at 3 p.m. (MT) in Salt Lake City at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Dec. 1.