PROVO — Utah’s 77-65 loss at BYU Saturday included eight lead changes. The last one, though, came in the first half when the Cougars went on a 10-0 run to pull ahead for good. The Utes eventually trailed by 13 points in the first half and never got any closer than five the rest of the way.
Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said that there were too many self-inflicted wounds with guys trying to get things done without help.
“We don’t have a team that can do it independently,” Krystkowiak said. “We’ve got to do it collectively, and we’ve got a ways to go.”
The Utes fell to 7-3 with the loss. All three setbacks have come away from home.
Senior forward Tyler Rawson, who led Utah with 15 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists, said runs by BYU in the first and second halves were things the Utes couldn’t bounce back from.
“When they got the crowd involved, it was hard to come back from that,” he said.
The American Fork High School graduate called it a dream to play in the Marriott Center in the rivalry game.
“You can’t make this atmosphere up,” Rawson said. “I had a lot of fun. I wished for a better result but, you know, it was a memory for a lifetime.”
Utah played without Donnie Tillman. The freshman is the Utes’ leading scorer off the bench with 10.7 points per game. Krystkowiak said Tillman has a sprained foot.
“So it’s not looking good for a while,” he added. “We are going to wait and see how he responds, but he hurt his foot in the Butler game and got a pretty significant sprain.”
Krystkowiak acknowledged that Tillman’s absence hurt. However, he declined to use it as an excuse — adding that they got their butts beat and didn’t deserve to win.
BYU’s Elijah Bryant scored a game-high 29 points and made five of the Cougars’ 10 3-point shots.
The latter, Krystkowiak said, was the difference in the ballgame. BYU made five more shots from beyond the arc than Utah.
“Statistically you look at everything, and it was, you know, sixes,” he continued.
The Utes return to action Wednesday in the Huntsman Center against Northwestern State. They open their Pac-12 slate Dec. 29 at Oregon.
“We’re still all right moving forward for Pac-12 play. We’re still sitting in a really good spot,” Rawson said. “We’ve got a good group of guys and I know coach is going to be crunching numbers. We’re still going to get better.
“The biggest thing about this game was we didn’t win because it was our own fault,” he added. “So these are all mistakes that we can fix, and moving forward we’ll be in a good place.”