Utah still needs serious sharpening as Top 10 ranked Nevada comes next week.
Utah didn’t look prepared to play one of the country’s undefeated teams. It didn’t look prepared to play Northern Arizona, a squad picked to finish last in the Big Sky. For the second consecutive game against inferior competition, the Runnin’ Utes struggled out of the gate but won 76-62 against the Lumberjacks at the Huntsman Center on Friday night.
Tulsa turned the back time to the pre-shot clock era. Florida A&M encouraged a “rear end chewing” from Larry Krystkowiak. NAU trailed by eight at halftime. It prompted a sharp message from the head coach in the postgame press conference.
Sedrick Barefield and Donnie Tillman we’re both dropped to the bench for the second game in a row.
Transition defense drew Krystkowiak’s ire early. Barefield finished at the rim after a pretty behind the back crossover, but Utah failed to track back defensively. Carlos Hines made the Lumberjacks look like the “Seven Seconds or Less” Suns, 10-10.
Utah pulled away in the second half due to the switch. They finished outrebounding NAU 38-33.
Riley Battin made it back-to-back double-digit performances. The freshman forward poured 9 of his 13 total points in the second half. He’s the glimpse at the future Utah wants to see.
Same for Both Gach. The flash against Kentucky isn’t a blip. According to Coach Krystkowiak, reps will yield improved play.
Nevada will bring the fourth best offense in the nation next week. The Wolf Pack own a 118.7 adjusted offense per 100 possessions, according to Kenpom.