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Utah basketball notes: Poeltl is making shots with consistency

LOS ANGELES — Utah center Jakob Poeltl was a go-to guy in Sunday’s 67-39 win at USC. The 7-foot freshman from Austria made 6-of-7 shots from the field after becoming more of a focal point on offense after making all four of his attempts in Thursday’s loss to UCLA.

“I think any coach that knows what the heck they’re doing has got to figure out a way to try to get him some more shots inside,” said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak. “So we talked about doing that (and) added a couple of new sets to get the ball in.”

Poeltl acknowledged that getting the ball inside was a point of emphasis in practice prior to facing the Trojans.

“Today I just really tried to be aggressive, post up my opponents and they fed me the ball,” he said. “It worked out pretty well.”

Poeltl added that he tried to come out with energy and was determined to own the floor, especially the paint. He finished with a game-high nine rebounds.

TOUGH DEFENSE: Utah held USC to just 12 points in the first half. Krystkowiak said he hasn’t been involved with a team that’s done that since coaching one of his son’s sixth-grade teams in San Diego — the Solana Beach Cats.

“I think we held a team to 12 points or less,” Krystkowiak quipped. “But not in my professional career.”

GOOD TIMING: Instead of the usual two, Utah only has one game this week — Saturday at Colorado.

“The timing could be good. We’ve got a bunch of guys wounded,” Krystkowiak said. “We had a bunch of sore throats, fatigue, different things going on — well over half our team.”

Poeltl has an ongoing ankle issue, he added, and there’s some other bumps on guys.

“The timing is good to have a single game, for sure,” Krystkowiak said.

NOT IDEAL: Sunday’s game didn’t draw much of a crowd. The announced attendance was just 2,835. It started at 11:30 a.m. and was broadcast on ESPNU, competing against Super Bowl pregame shows.

“It’s become difficult to play games at such odd times,” said Utah Athletic Director Chris Hill, who attended the game. “The exposure? I don’t know. This is an especially odd time if you’re in the L.A. area.”

Things could be worse. Last year, Arizona and UCLA played a 6 p.m. game at Pauley Pavilion on a Thursday night — a not-so-good time with L.A. traffic.

EXTRA STUFF: Wright finished with 11 points, five rebounds and three steals. … Jordan Loveridge had 10 points. … Faces in the crowd included Los Angeles Lakers general manager Mitch Kupchak and former Runnin’ Ute Jarred DuBois.

Email: dirk@desnews.com

Twitter: @DirkFacer