The #21 Utah Utes (11-2) cruised by the College of Idaho Yotes (7-7) to close out non-conference play at the Jon M. Huntsman Center on Monday night, 115-74.
The Utes started the game on a sour note, allowing the Yotes to make five of their first six three-pointers while committing three turnovers. The Yotes jumped out to a 16-4 lead, prompting head coach Larry Krystkowiak to call a timeout. “That was a point where…we disrespected the game,” said Utah forward Dakarai Tucker. “That’s something we can’t do, even against lower opponents.”
The Utes turned in on from there, going on a 32-9 run, and closed the half with a 52-39 lead. The Yotes started the game making 5-of-6 three pointers, but the Utes held CI to just 2-of-16 to close the half.
The Yotes hung tough in the second half, cutting the lead to nine and eight on two occasions, as well as opening the half 4-6 from the three-point line, but the Utes once again turned up the effort, and shut the door on any real comeback.
One of Krystkowiak’s main focuses recently has been perimeter defense, a stat the Utes usually take pride in, but have struggled at this year. Tonight was a chance to improve that before Pac-12 play, but there is still room to improve. The Yotes finished shooting 14-39 from behind the arc, including 7-11 in the first five minutes of each half.
Utah had a clear size advantage in this game, outrebounding the Yotes 54-24 and outscoring them in the paint, 62-14.
In all, twelve Utes scored, including five in double-digits. Tucker and Kyle Kuzma led the Utes with 17 points apiece. Jakob Poeltl and Brandon Taylor each threw in 15 points, and Lorenzo Bonam finished with 12.
The Runnin’ Utes will fly to the Bay Area on Wednesday to face Stanford on New Year’s Day at 7:00 and the Cal Bears on Sunday at 5:30. Coverage for both of those games can be heard on ESPN700.
Larry Krystkowiak Postgame:
Dakarai Tucker Postgame:
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