Fri, 27 May 2022

Amid record-tying losing streak, Utah meets surging Washington

Field Level Media
29 Jan 2022, 06:40 GMT+10

Having won four of its past five games, Washington will aim to continue its strong play Saturday when it hosts Utah in Seattle.

While the home team is surging, Utah (8-13, 1-10 Pac-12) is riding an abysmal nine-game losing streak.

The Huskies (10-8, 5-3) are coming off a strong defensive showing Thursday in which they tallied a season-high 16 steals in a stunning win over Colorado, which had just won at Oregon.

Jamal Bey and PJ Fuller each had four steals and five Huskies had at least two swipes in the 60-58 victory.

"It's a group thing," forward Emmitt Matthews Jr. said about the Huskies' defense, which operates with a 2-3 zone implemented by coach Mike Hopkins, a longtime former Syracuse assistant. "We all come together, and we kind of made that our thing. We think we're one of the best defenses in the country and we're slowing proving it."

Washington held Colorado to 34 percent shooting from the field and 12 points less than its scoring average.

At Utah, the Utes' nine-game slide ties a program-worst streak, dating to the 1935-36 season. They're eager to snap it.

"We gotta have two really good practices going into that game against Washington, and we gotta play better on the road," first-year Utah coach Craig Smith said after a 71-54 loss at Washington State on Wednesday.

The Utes lost to Washington 74-68 on Jan. 6 in Salt Lake City. They blew a 50-36 lead early in the second half of that game.

"Washington presents its own unique challenge in terms of that zone that they play," Smith said. "I thought we did a really good job against them at home, and handled their zone for 30 minutes or so very, very well."

Washington graduate transfer Terrell Brown Jr. -- who leads the Pac-12 at 21.2 points per game -- scored nine of his 15 points when the Huskies rallied against Utah in the second half. He also finished with eight assists in that game.

Utah won the rebounding battle against Washington 44-26, including a 13-6 edge on the offensive end that gave it a 17-4 advantage in second-chance points. However, the Utes were undone by 19 turnovers.

Branden Carlson leads Utah in scoring this season with 13.1 points per game. He had 12 points and seven rebounds in the Utes' most recent meeting with the Huskies.

--Field Level Media

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