Eugene, Ore. • Utah players closely watched their coach, a former NBA forward, and tried to match Larry Krystkowiak's presence around the lane.
Turns out, the guy is a pretty good bowler.
The 11th-place team in the Pac-12 spent the last day before its last regular-season game at a Eugene bowling alley. Utah (6-23, 3-14 Pac-12) didn't practice Friday, but the players did watch film, on the heels of a 77-67 blowout loss against Oregon State.
"There wasn't a whole lot we needed to do on the court it was mostly mental," Krystkowiak said.
The Utes hope a loose day will put them in position to pull off an unlikely win Saturday against a soaring Oregon Ducks team (21-8, 12-5) that knocked off Colorado Thursday to remain among the conference's top three teams.
The Ducks are led by guard Devoe Joseph, a transfer from Minnesota who has been largely responsible for Oregon's surge. Joseph averages 16.7 points per game and, on the surface, appears to be the player the Utes should be most worried about. He scored 20 points in Utah's 79-68 loss to the Ducks on Feb. 2.
"We've guarded a lot of good people," Utah guard Cedric Martin said, "so we're really not worried about one player."
The bigger concern is winning on the road. It's a tired statement for a rebuilding team, but the Utes' road losing streak has reached 16 games, dating back to Feb. 19, 2011.
"It's kind of been our main Achilles' heel as far as our identity as a team," Jason Washburn said, "and we've got one more chance to do it in the regular season."
Utah is guaranteed the 11th seed in next week's Pac-12 tournament in Los Angeles. The Utes still could play Colorado, UCLA or Stanford in the first round on Wednesday, depending on the results of this weekend's games.
Utah at Oregon
P At Matthew Knight Arena (Eugene, Ore.)
Tipoff • Saturday, 4 p.m. Radio • 700 AM
Records • Utah 6-23, 3-14; Oregon 21-8, 12-5
Series • Tied 8-8
Last meeting • Oregon, 79-68 (Feb. 2)
About the Utes • In a 77-67 loss at Oregon State on Thursday, leading scorers Jason Washburn and Chris Hines were scoreless in the first half. … Washburn leads the Utes with 10.9 points and 6.1 rebounds per game. … In the first meeting between the Utes and Ducks, Hines led all scorers with 20 points, while Cedric Martin added 15. … By losing in Corvallis, the Utes locked up the No. 11 seed in next week's Pac-12 tournament in Los Angeles and will play at 9:30 p.m. MT on Wednesday.
About the Ducks • Oregon has won three straight games and five of its past six. … Since becoming eligible on Dec. 10, former Minnesota point guard Devoe Joseph has become the Ducks' star player. He leads Oregon with 16.7 points per game. … The Ducks are playing their second season in Matthew Knight Arena, a 12,369-seat, state-of-the-art venue named after the son of Nike founder and Ducks booster Phil Knight.