For much of the season, Renan Lenz has been a forgotten man around the Huntsman Center, an upperclassman passed up by freshman Jordan Loveridge.
Utah may have been pummeled Sunday an 87-56 loser to Stanford in the midst of an explosive snowstorm but Lenz played his best game of the season and finally reminded people why the Ute coaching staff spent so much time recruiting him.
The junior power forward scored 8 points. He posted career highs with 8 rebounds and 3 blocked shots, and added 2 steals.
"I've just been trying to do what the coaches have asked of me," Lenz said. "They've been telling me to be aggressive and to go out there and just play. That's what I've tried to do tonight."
Reputed to be a good shooter for a 6-foot-9 guy, Lenz has struggled mightily in that area this season. On Sunday, he knocked down multiple midrange jump shots. He made himself a defensive presence in the paint and was one of only two players Justin Seymour being the other to actually play well against the Cardinal.
He was needed. Loveridge a game-time decision with concussion-like symptoms started but clearly wasn't himself in the 13 minutes he played. As a result, Lenz received his first bit of extended time this season and played the third-most minutes for the Utes on Sunday.
Lenz has often found himself out of favor in terms of playing time. Coach Larry Krystkowiak said he would open up practice to competing for spots Tuesday.
"We've just got to play better," Seymour said. "We need to listen to the coaches, and we have to be a lot more competitive. We felt embarrassed tonight, and we can't let that happen anymore."
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