The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

Write for Us
Want your voice to be heard? Submit a letter to the editor, send us an op-ed pitch or check out our open positions for the chance to be published by the Daily Utah Chronicle.
Print Issues

Adams: Runnin’ Utes Need to Fix First-Half Woes in Order to Succeed


After a rough start, the Runnin’ Utes rallied in the second half to narrowly escape Oregon State, 59-53, on Sunday evening. The win gave them a much-needed second conference victory on the season and more importantly, kept Utah from heading toward a daunting 1-4 early-Pac-12 season mark.

It was a great game full of theatrics. The Utes even overcame a 14-point deficit to achieve that W in the end. If you’re a Utah fan and were at the game, the satisfaction of a come-from-behind win may feel good at the moment, but let’s take a step back and look at the bigger picture here.

Sure, Utah got the win, but another slow start is alarming for a team full of them this season, and it might come back to haunt the Utes if something isn’t done about it.

Though it is averaging more than 60 points per game in conference play this season, Utah averages just 27 points per first half of each of those games. It could be worse, but Pac-12 teams have shown this year that climbing back into games will be difficult to do, no matter who the opponent is. It’s already happened to the Utes, and they can’t afford for it to happen again.

Before last night, a 1-3 start was less than ideal for a program that went 13-5 in conference play last season, qualifying for the Sweet 16 and nearly upending the defending national champions in Duke. The Utes have looked like a shell of themselves at times, especially in last night’s 23-point first half that had some fans heading for the exits at halftime.

Utah made those fans regret that decision by completing the comeback, but it almost wasn’t meant to be. If not for OSU’s Jarmal Reid tripping a Pac-12 official (yes, you read that correctly. He actually, blatantly, tripped a referee) in the closing minutes of the game, said comeback may never have been.

Luckily, head coach Larry Krystkowiak and company has been pretty good this season at making halftime adjustments to not come out as flat in second halves, but that might not be enough if the Utes are trying to qualify for the NCAA tournament for a second straight season. And with the parity that exists in the conference, even the Pac-12 tournament will be a short trip for Utah if it doesn’t clean up its first-half act.

There are worse problems to have, without a doubt. The pieces are there for this Utah squad to succeed and be a major player in the Pac-12. We’ve seen the potential these Utes hold in flashes this season, but never has it lasted throughout the entirety of a game, even in those wins against BYU or Duke.

Utah is by no means a bad team. In fact, I doubt anyone who knows basketball would seriously say that, despite the Utes boasting a losing record in conference play.

But taking into account their early play thus far, they are just a mediocre team with the potential to be a contender. If Krystkowiak and the players can figure out a solution to their first-half woes, then this team — a team that boasts a handful of senior leadership and first-round lock in Jakob Poeltl — will find itself making noise in the Pac-12, once again.

[email protected]


Leave a Comment

Comments (0)

We welcome feedback and dialogue from our community. However, when necessary, The Daily Utah Chronicle reserves the right to remove user comments. Posts may be removed for any of the following reasons: • Comments on a post that do not relate to the subject matter of the story • The use of obscene, threatening, defamatory, or harassing language • Comments advocating illegal activity • Posts violating copyrights or trademarks • Advertisement or promotion of commercial products, services, entities, or individuals • Duplicative comments by the same user. In the case of identical comments only the first submission will be posted. Users who habitually post comments or content that must be removed can be blocked from the comment section.
All The Daily Utah Chronicle Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *