Runnin' Utes Seek to Right Ship with Washington State in Town Saturday Afternoon
SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah men's basketball team looks to right the ship and put an end to its three-game skid this Saturday, Jan. 8, when it welcomes in the Washington State Cougars for a 4 p.m. (MT) bout inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center.
Krista Blunk will have the call alongside veteran coach Mike Montgomery as the Runnin' Utes put their 13-game winning-streak against the Cougars on the line in the Pac-12 Networks broadcast.
SUCCESS AGAINST THE COUGS
Dating back to their first meeting in 1938, the Utah men's basketball team has had success against Washington State. The Utes own a 27-4 all-time record versus the Cougars, including an 18-1 record in SLC and 11-0 mark inside the Jon M. Huntsman Center. The last and only time Utah lost to Wazzu in Salt Lake City was on Dec. 14, 1946 (33-32).
Since joining the Pac-12, Utah has only split the home swing against Washington and Washington State twice, first in 2011-12 and last in 2018-19. Additionally, the Utes have never been swept at home by the WA schools since joining the Conference of Champions and hopes to keep that trend going Saturday as they seek to stop a three-game skid. Utah's lone win in those 1-1 seasons were against the Cougars.
Utah big man Dusan Mahorcic made his return to the line-up against for the first time against Washington (Jan. 6) after his knee injury in the first-half against BYU at home on Nov. 27. The Belgrade, Serbia, native saw action at the 10:11 mark in the first half after missing eight games.
Saturday's game will be a reunion of sorts for assistant coach Tim Morris and Pac-12 Networks analyst Mike Montgomery. The first-year Utes assistant played at Stanford under Montgomery on the Farm from 2004-06. This isn't the first time veteran head coach has done a TV game where a former player is on the coaching staff. Other Pac-12 ties for Montgomery included former Runnin' Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak and current Oregon State head coach Wayne Tinkle – who both played for Montgomery at Montana before taking over the helm at their alma mater.
LAST TIME OUT
Turnovers was once again an issue for the Utes this past Thursday as they fell to Washington 74-68 late in the second half after watching its 14-point slip away. It was the third-straight game Utah had won the battle of the glass and lost. However, it was also the third-straight game Utah has turned the ball over 15-plus times in a game.
Gabe Madsen played a season-high 20:29 minutes and produced for the Utes, posting a season-high 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from 3-point range. Branden Carlson also had a team-high 12 points, pulling down seven rebounds to go with a pair of blocks on 5-of-8 shooting. Lazar Stefanovic also pitched in with a dozen points of his own while grabbing five rebounds.
Marco Anthony recorded his first double-double as a Ute and second all-time, scoring 10 points with 13 rebounds against Washington. Rollie Worster rounded the double-digit scoring out for Utah with 10 points and seven rebounds of his own.
SCOUTING THE COUGS
Both Utah and Washington State are looking to put an end to its losing streak on Saturday when the two meet on the hardwood as the Utes ride a three-game skid while the Cougars have lost back-to-back contests. WSU is 2-1 on the year when playing in true road games, picking up dubs against Idaho (109-61) and Arizona State (51-29) early on in December before falling to Colorado recently (83-78).
Michael Flowers is 1-of-2 players that has started all 14 games for the Cougs and leads the team in scoring with 13.4 points per game, 3.9 rebounds per game and a team-best 2.9 assists average. Noah Williams is second on the squad averaging 12.8 points, 4.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists to go with a team-high 15 steals. Tyrell Roberts is the third and final Coug to average in double-figures, posting 10.8 points per game to go with a .969 clip from the free throw line (31-of-32). Efe Obogidi leads the team on the glass, pulling down 5.3 boards per game to go with his 7.7 points average while Mouhamed Gueye is averaging 5.0 rebounds and 6.0 points per game.
Wazzu has struggled in its last five games, going just 1-4 during that stretch but all four losses have been by six or less points. WSU's long win during that five-game stretch was against Northern Colorado, 82-56. In those five games, the Cougars are shooting a .381 clip as a team while opponents are shooting at a high .435 rate. Washington State is shooting .298 from beyond the arc in those five games but have average 9.0 made 3-pointers compared to just 6.8 by opponents (.354).
Utah heads to the Valley of the Sun next week as it opens with Arizona State on the road first with a 7:30 p.m. (MT) tip-off on Thursday, Jan. 13, followed by a 6 p.m. (MT) match-up against #8/7 Arizona on Saturday Jan. 15. Both games are scheduled to air on Pac-12 Networks.
Upon its return to SLC, Utah will have a tough challenge ahead as it welcomes in #5/5 UCLA on Thursday, Jan. 22, for a 9 p.m. (MT) tip before hosting #7/8 USC on Saturday, Jan. 22, at 4:30 p.m. The match-up against the Bruins will air on FS1 while the battle with the Trojans are on Pac-12 Networks. In addition, Utah will be honoring the late Wat Misaka on Saturday, Jan. 22, with a jersey ceremony.
For the latest news and information on the Runnin' Utes men's basketball program, fans can stay connected online at www.UtahUtes.com and on social media by following @UtahMBB on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.