After a big comeback win against Washington on Thursday, the Utes are back at it against Washington State.
The Utes had to rally from a double digit deficit against the Huskies, and was rather lucky to come away with a win, considering they didn’t hit a field goal for the last three minutes of the game. Regardless, it’s a confidence builder for the team, which had been struggling mightily.
Now the Utes have another stiff test with Wazzu coming into the Huntsman Center. Wazzu, even after getting thumped by Colorado on Thursday, is fully capable of getting a win in SLC. The Utes have got to find a way to not go through the same drought that they’ve been going through. Late in that UW game, it seemed that the offense was moving the ball much better, and Rylan Jones was probing the defense nicely either finding his own shot, or setting up a teammate.
At some point Both Gach has to snap out of this funk he’s in and get rolling. He’s been settling for way too many jump shots. He’s a force when he’s driving, as his speed is tough to match. Sometimes it’s all on Timmy Allen’s shoulders, and a guy like Gach can take a ton of stress off of him. Riley Battin had a great game against UW, and he needs to be able to hit the outside shot too, so he can help spread the defense out.
The Wazzu scouting report per UtahUtes.com:
Washington heads into the matchup on Saturday 12-8 overall and 3-4 in Pac-12 play after falling to Colorado 78-56 Thursday night, snapping a two-game win-streak the Cougars had thanks to a big weekend at home against the Oregon schools. The loss drops WSU to 1-4 on the year when playing in true road games and 0-3 on the road in conference action.
CJ Elleby, the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week, paces the team averaging 18.8 points and 7.1 rebounds to go with a team-high 33 steals. Isaac Bonton is the only other Cougar averaging in double-figures, checking in with 14.3 points per game, 4.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists. Jeff Pollard is almost averaging in the double-digit range with 9.4 points per game and 4.4 rebounds.
However, in conference play, Bonton is actually leading the team in scoring with 16.6 points per game to go with his 5.1 assists average compared to Elleby, who is averaging 16.3 points and 7.9 rebounds. Daron Henson is the third and final player averaging in double-figures for WSU in Pac-12 play, posting 12.5 points per game in his two games during league play – including 13 points at Colorado on 5-of-9 shooting.
Under the direction of new head coach Kyle Smith, the Cougars have shown great improvement, having already passed last year’s win total. WSU opened the year with a dominant win over in-state foe Seattle U before winning six-straight games. A split of the LA schools was made possible by an overtime win against UCLA before sweeping the Oregon schools at home last weekend.
Here’s how to watch:
TV: Pac-12 Network