PULLMAN – Delon Wright and Jakob Poeltl are no longer in college, having been selected in the first rounds of the 2015 and 2016 NBA drafts, respectively. But the Utah team that coach Larry Krystkowiak brings to Pullman for Wednesday’s 6 p.m. game at Washington State just keeps finding new players to keep the Utes humming along near the top of the Pac-12.
Six Utes average double-figure scoring. Led by Utah State transfer David Collette (14.9 points per game), Utah is one of the country’s best teams at scoring in the paint.
“I think he’s settled into how he wants to play, the type of player he needs there in his program,” said Ernie Kent, whose WSU teams are 0-4 against the Utes.
Kent added, “He’s gotten very good at being consistent in getting those things in place: The style of play, players that fit the style of play and community, and he’s comfortable with who they are and their identity. It’s very impressive.”
Utah (12-5, 3-2 Pac-12) is just a few close losses, perhaps due to some injury issues, from being considered one of the country’s elite teams. The Utes have never lost by more than 10 points, and losses to No. 3 UCLA, No. 13 Butler, No. 14 Arizona and No. 22 Xavier came by an average of just seven points.
“They’re every bit as good, in my opinion, as Oregon or Arizona. UCLA’s different because UCLA has so many great shooters, but Utah causes their own problems with their ability to get up and down and their ability to score in the paint.
WSU (9-8, 2-3) returns home after a trip to the Bay Area that was both deflating and encouraging. After a 30-point loss at a Stanford team that had little prior success, the Cougars acquitted themselves well against and nearly beat a good California team.
The Cougars will have two days of rest after the Utah game before they host Colorado at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 21.
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