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Utah notebook: Utes post winning Pac-12 road record

PULLMAN, Wash. — For the third time in four seasons, Utah has posted a winning road record in Pac-12 play. Saturday’s 77-70 victory at Washington State clinched it. The Utes, who finish the campaign with three home games, went 5-4 in conference contests away from the Huntsman Center this year— matching similar marks in 2014-15 and 2015-16.

“It’s not easy to win on the road anywhere, particularly in our conference,” said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak, who noted some of the challenges. “So I’m pleased with our ability to focus when we’ve gotten on the road. I think we get together. We’ve got a good group of guys that enjoy traveling and our coaching staff, our assistants are as good as anybody in the country getting our team ready to play. It’s unbelievably beneficial for me to know that we’re going to be prepared.”

That said, Krystkowiak knows the road record doesn’t mean anything if the Utes don’t take care of business at home. They host UCLA, USC and Colorado before next month’s Pac-12 tournament in Las Vegas.

Utah struggled early in its Pac-12 membership, going 3-24 on the road over its first three seasons (2011-12, 2012-13 and 2013-14). A year ago, the Utes were 4-5 away from home in conference action.

SIDELINED UTES: Starting guard Sedrick Barefield suffered a rib cage injury during warm-ups and wound up logging just four minutes after shooting an air ball in his only shot attempt ... Center Jayce Johnson did not play because of a foot injury. It’s the first game that the 7-foot sophomore has missed since the UCLA game on Jan. 11.

EXTRA STUFF: The attendance was 2,924 ... Malachi Flynn scored 20 points for Washington State ... Parker Van Dyke had a game-high five assists for Utah ... The Cougars fell to 10-16 overall and 2-12 in Pac-12 play with the setback ... Krystkowiak was especially displeased that the Utes gave up 15 offensive rebounds ... Utah shot 38.7 percent in the second half.


Twitter: @DirkFacer