Utah notebook: Olsen steps up in win over Washington State

Utah+notebook%3A+Olsen+steps+up+in+win+over+Washington+State

By Griffin Adams and Griffin Adams

olsen

It was an unsettling image for Utah fans to see freshman center Jakob Poeltl in street clothes before the tip of Wednesday night’s game against Washington State.

But as one player went down, another had to step up.

While Dallin Bachynski got the start in place of Poeltl, it was seldom-used Jeremy Olsen who had the best game out of the Utah bigs in the Utes’ 86-64 victory over Washington State. The junior finished with eight points on 4-for-6 shooting, along with five rebounds in just 14 minutes of play.

Playing behind two legitimate seven-footers makes it hard for Olsen to see time on the court, but when his time did come, Olsen made the most of it.

“The coaches always tell us we need to be ready with foul trouble or whatever the case may be,” Olsen said. “We are very deep and talented so not everyone is going to play.”

The big man even showed some humility after the game, despite posting some of the best numbers of his career.

“I felt I did a solid job, but there are definitely things to work on,” Olsen said.

Still trying to box out

After getting demolished on the boards in Tucson 40-19, Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak really wanted his team to “get back to the glass” when the Utes stepped on the court again.

But much to his dismay, Krystkowiak’s group was once again out-rebounded. The Utes lost the battle of the boards, 35-30 on Wednesday.

“I’m not pleased with the fact that we got out-rebounded. That’s the third time this year that we’ve been out rebounded and that was one of the focal points for us,” he said.

Utah was playing without Poeltl, who lead the team in rebounds with 7.9 per game and while Krystkowiak believes Poeltl’s absence played a role in his team getting beat on the boards, he didn’t think it was a good enough excuse.

“He was one of our guys,” Krystkowiak said. “But we’ve got some big bodies down there and I thought that they pretty much dominated the paint and the glass and with a lot of their post-ups put us in a bad way.”

Holding on to the basketball

Not counting last night’s victory over the Cougars, Utah has registered three games this season where it committed fewer than 10 turnovers. But never in the 2014-15 campaign have the Runnin’ Utes ever committed less than five turnovers, which is exactly what they did against Washington State. Utah committed only four turnovers in the game, including just one in the first half.

“We’ve done a nice job taking care of the basketball,” Krystkowiak said. “I think offensively we’re starting to figure a few things out and not force the issue but just trust the offense.”

[email protected]

@GriffDoug