TUCSON, Ariz. — Utah center Jason Washburn put up some big numbers on the Utes’ first Pac-12 road trip of the season. The senior followed a 19-point, 18-rebound performance at Arizona State by scoring 17 and grabbing 11 boards in Saturday’s 60-57 loss at third-ranked Arizona.
At halftime of the latter, Washburn had just two points.
“I was getting the ball in the first half and I saw a lot of traffic in the lane. There wasn’t much for me,” he said, while praising his teammates for finding him and keeping him in the game. “In the second half it kind of opened up.”
Washburn’s performance after the break paced Utah back into contention. It followed a halftime evaluation about the offense as a whole from head coach Larry Krystkowiak.
“We were pretty stagnant. (When) we came into the building it looked to me, at the start of the game, there was a little deer-in-the-headlights look — like we were overwhelmed,” he said. “It’s sometimes a misconception that you don’t have to play hard on offense, too. We were playing really hard on defense but I didn’t think we were playing very hard on offense.”
Forward Jordan Loveridge noted that guys may have been resting a bit on offense because of the challenges of defending the talented Wildcats.
“We were so worried about these guys, how fast they and how big and strong they are,” Loveridge said. “So we were using a lot of energy on the defensive end.”
After scoring just 23 points in the first half, the Utes netted 34 in the second.
Krystkowiak noted that they weren’t cutting hard, screening and being very definitive about what they were doing early on.
“It’s not as complicated sometimes as people want to make it,” Krystkowiak said. “The game comes down to outscoring the other team.”
ROAD WOES: Utah hasn’t won a conference game on the road or at a neutral site since upsetting New Mexico 62-60 in Albuquerque on Feb. 19, 2011. The Utes are 0-12 in such game since joining the Pac-12.
“It’s extremely frustrating because we came so close the past two games,” Washburn said.
CAGING THE ‘CATS: Utah puts the clamps on Arizona, holding the Wildcats to just 36.2 percent shooting. The Utes recorded three blocks and three steals.
“Coach was emphasizing defense all weekend,” Loveridge said. “We knew that they are one of the best teams in the country.”
EXTRA STUFF: Arizona’s Solomon Hill led all scorers with 19 points. ... The Wildcats outrebounded the Utes 38-27 and grabbed 18 on the offensive end. ... Utah shot 51.9 percent in the second half, up from 31.8 percent over the first 20 minutes. ... Arizona has won the past six meetings with Utah. The Utes, though, lead the all-time series 28-24.