After the high emotion game against BYU on Wednesday night, it was expected the Utes could have an emotional hang over for IPFW, and that's what happened the first 25 minutes of the game. In the 96-79 win over IPFW at the Huntsman Center, the Utes came out a sloppy, and lacking energy. The key issue for the Utes in the first half was the inability to get Jakob Poeltl the ball, who finished the game with 21 points, 6 rebounds and 6 assists. IPFW had no way to counter Poeltl, and the inability for the team to get him the ball in the first half was frustrating, and as coach Krystkowiak said in the post game, there was really no reason why he wasn't getting the ball in the post. With that said, the offense was okay in the first half, shooting 53% from the floor, and was paced by Jordan Loveridge's 12 first half points, and his 5-of-6 shooting from the floor. Loveridge finished the game with 18 points, and has continued his strong start to the season.
On defense, the Utes struggled to contain Mo Evans and the IPFW three point shooting. Evans had 18 points in the first half, and finished with 26 on the game, and was 11-of-16 from the floor. IPFW hit 13 three's in the game, and that was the main reason Utah really couldn't pull away until the second half, as the Utes held only a three point lead going into the break.
The three point defense is a point of concern for head coach Larry Krystkowiak, as he's said that's been a thorn in the side for the team thus far this season. Loveridge alluded to the fact that the rules changes may have contributed to that, as hand checking is called more closely than it's ever been called. Loveridge basically said that players may be thinking about not committing fouls and playing more off the ball.
The Utes opened up the second half basically the same way as the first, as they were sloppy and disjointed. It wasn't until a couple of subs by the coaching staff that Utah started to pull away. Lorenzo Bonam and Brekkott Chapman both played really strong second halves coming off the bench, as both assaulted the rim constantly. Their attacking the rim, and the overall mentality to get the ball into the paint helped open up the floor for Poeltl who was really able to assert himself in the second half as well.
Overall, it was a balanced effort for the Utes offensively. The Utes did have five players score in double figures with Poeltl's 21, Loveridge's 18, Kyle Kuzma had 16, Lorenzo Bonam put in 15, and Chapman scored 10.
Next up for Utah is a road trip to take on Wichita State, next Saturday.