Utes look to rebound against Washington State

Utes+look+to+rebound+against+Washington+State

By Griffin Adams and Griffin Adams

UTAH vs Colorado 32

For the first time in the 2014-15 season, the No. 12 Runnin’ Utes were simply outplayed in their last game against Arizona. Utah has felt the sting of defeat before its journey to the desert, but the other two losses were close, competitive games that came down to the final buzzer.

For newcomers to the Utah program, the blowout loss was a foreign feeling. Freshmen, such as Brekkott Chapman and Kyle Kuzma, are used to playing in games where the Utes are simply dominant, or at the very least, competitive throughout. The game against Arizona was the first time in their young careers where their team looked inferior.

As a veteran, big man Dallin Bachynski hopes that his experiences throughout his playing career can help aid the young players.

Unfortunately for Bachynski, he has seen a lot of losing during his collegiate days. Before transferring to the U, Bachynski played at Southern Utah, where the Thunderbirds were not the most successful of teams. Additionally, the center’s first couple of seasons in Salt Lake City were filled with rebuilding.

However, the losing in Bachynski’s early career wasn’t all negative as he looks to help the new players, specifically the freshmen, rebound from a subpar performance against the Wildcats.

“Being able to keep everyone positive is a big thing,” Bachynski said. “[The freshmen] are hard on themselves … We just have to make sure they aren’t too down on themselves and make sure they can see the positive that they do. We have to make it seem like the loss isn’t the end of the world.”

Speaking of rebounding, that is one aspect the Utes walked away from Saturday night’s game needing to address. After being out rebounded 40-19, including giving up 17 offensive boards, the boards became the focus of the week, especially since Utah’s physicality was also called into question.

Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak, a big man in his playing days, knows what it takes to rebound at this level, but admitted that it’s not the easiest aspect of the game to teach.

“It’s the hardest thing to coach,” Krystkowiak said. “We seek players out in the recruiting period who just go get a rebound. It is a skill to be able to rebound outside of your area. Some ‘hit and git’ – they look for contact and then release to get the ball … It’s desire.”

According to Bachynski, though, not much needs to change and the Utes just need to remember who they are.

“We did get away from the type of team that we are last game, so I think we just have to get back to what we know how to do, play how we know how to play,” Bachynski said. “Rebound hard, play hard and be more aggressive.”

Up next for the Runnin’ Utes is a home slate against Washington State, a team that has got off to a surprising start to Pac-12 competition. Despite dropping games to the likes of Idaho and UTEP this season, the Cougars sit at 3-2 in conference play, including a win over rival Washington.

“I think they’re surprising some teams so far, along with Oregon State, with the way they’ve performed this year,” Krystkowiak said.

Leading Wazzu is 6-foot-4 senior DaVonte Lacy, who Krystkowiak is quite familiar with. When the Utah coach was chosen to lead a group of Pac-12 All-Star players to China over the summer, Lacy was one of those players. When asked about Lacy, who is currently averaging 17.4 points per game, Krystkowiak had nothing but praise for him.

“He’s as solid a kid as I’ve come around,” Krystkowiak said. “He stands for a lot of things we talk about here in our program. He’s very outgoing and was a team favorite. He represents his school and our conference extremely well … He is one of the top scorers in the league and is a handful to play against.”

The Utes will look to stop Lacy and the Cougars at 7:00 p.m. MT in the Huntsman Center.

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