Utes struggle while away from home

By Paige Fieldsted, Staff Writer

The Runnin’ Utes remain tied with two other teams atop the Mountain West Conference standings, despite inconsistent success on the road.

The Utes have struggled to play well on the road all season, with five of their seven losses away from the Huntsman Center, including both of their conference defeats.

“Yeah we have struggled, I think that’s a good way to put it,” said head coach Jim Boylen, about his team’s play away from home. “We haven’t played a complete game yet on the road.”

Despite the fact that both of Utah’s road losses have been to the two teams Utah is currently sharing first place with8212;San Diego State and UNLV with 5-2 records8212;both games were examples of the Utes being unable to put together an entire game.

In San Diego, Utah got off to a poor start and went into halftime down by seven. The Utes were unable to make up for the lack of effort in the first half and went on to lose the game, 72-63.

A week later in Las Vegas, Utah was able to get off to a better start than it did against the Aztecs and managed to take an eight-point halftime lead, but a poor second half left Utah down by 10 when the buzzer sounded.

“I just feel like we haven’t played a complete game yet and I’m not talking about winning or losing,” Boylen said. “I’m talking about our effort and our sustained mental focus, and it hasn’t been there and we have to improve that.”

The first thing Utah hopes to improve on the road is its mental toughness.

“It’s just our mentality,” said Lawrence Borha. “We don’t go there with enough grit and we always seems to slack off for a portion of the game, and that can’t happen.”

With two road games against TCU and Wyoming this week, Utah will have step up its toughness mentality and put together a complete game to come up with the wins it needs.

“We have to focus on the task at hand8212;we can’t look forward to coming back home,” said senior Shaun Green. “We know that to win the conference we have to win road games and there shouldn’t be a problem getting the team focused and ready to go this week.”

Utah, however, is not the only team struggling to pick up road wins within the conference.

Every MWC team has at least two losses on the road, including UNLV and San Diego State.

“The team that can get three or four road wins will be the champion this year,” Boylen said.

Utah will face TCU tonight and will play in Wyoming on Saturday. With a three-way tie for first place, and New Mexico, BYU and TCU not far behind in a tie for second place, road wins don’t just become a luxury, they’re a necessity.

“We need to play a complete game, 40 minutes and play hard and we’ll be good,” Borha said.

[email protected]

Lennie Mahler

Utah coach Jim Boylen is looking for his team to put together a complete game on the road. Utah travel to TCU tonight fallowed by Wyoming who is 10-0 at home.