Runnin' Utes reach 'low point' in blowout loss to Stanford

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SALT LAKE CITY — A winter storm made it difficult for Utah fans to arrive at the Jon M. Huntsman Center Sunday night, and those who did brave the storm were hardly rewarded for their troubles.

In their least competitive outing of the season, the Runnin' Utes were hammered, 87-56, at the hands of Stanford (12-8, 3-4).


"We got our butts kicked in every phase of the game," said Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak. "It’s the low point for me since I’ve been here. You can just tell in a game like this when you don’t run the first play, and they get the first rebound up off the free throw that we’re not where we need to be in order to be competitive."

Stanford junior John Gage led all scorers with 19 points off the bench, a career high for the stretch four, grabbing six rebounds in the Cardinal victory. Gage came into the match-up averaging just five points per game this season.

Sophomore guard Chasson Randle contributed 17 points and eight boards for Stanford, while junior forward Josh Huestis added 13 points and seven rebounds.

The Cardinal was the aggressor from the very beginning, leaping out to a 12-2 lead early on. The Utes were never able to get closer than seven after that, with the lead ballooning to 19 after a 12-0 run.

"I feel like we came out dead," said freshman guard Justin Seymour. "You get down 12-2, it’s hard to come back from. It’s happened so many times when we come out with no energy. It’ s on the people on the court. You control how you come out and play. If you don’t play hard, we’ll just keep getting beat like we have been."

Utah went into the half down 20, 46-26, but matters only worsened in the second period. Stanford continued to put together scoring runs as large as 7-0 and 11-0, leading by as many as 35 at one point.

The Utes were outrebounded 41-27 and outshot from the field, 50 percent to 38.2. The Cardinal also hit a scorching 60 percent from beyond the arc.

"We weren’t physical enough," Krystkowiak said. "We weren’t ready to compete and we weren’t mentally locked into what we needed to do."

We got our butts kicked in every phase of the game. It's the low point for me since I've been here.

–Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak

Seymour scored 14 points as Utah's only double-digit scorer, and junior forward Renan Lenz recorded eight points, eight rebounds and three blocks on a night of very few bright spots.

"From the beginning we didn’t come ready to play," Lenz said. "They were more ready than us, and we didn’t get back at them. We’re the ones on the court and we’re the ones responsible for making the play."

Utah (9-11, 1-7) has now lost seven of its last eight games, and hasn't beaten a Division I team on its home floor since a Dec. 18 victory over SMU.

The Utes will have nearly a week off before hosting Colorado next Saturday afternoon to close out a three-game home stand — and they'll have plenty to work on during those six days.

"The one thing that we’re going to do for the rest of the year is play harder because it was embarrassing to just get outplayed physically in every category," Krystkowiak said. "I have no idea why (we didn't play with energy). But I do know what I can control, and that is to try and find guys that are interested in jumping in, playing harder and being more dialed in."

Tyson Maddy has covered the University of Utah football and men's basketball teams as a contributing writer for Sports since 2011. Follow his Utes coverage on twitter @Tyson_Maddy

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