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Where the ball goes has everything to do with where Lorenzo Bonam's eyes look.

The 6-foot-4 senior guard can often be found careening into the paint, with wild, twirling shots off the glass and into the hoop. It's hard to appreciate how well Bonam performs these acrobatics until seeing the numbers: Bonam is shooting 77 percent on two-point attempts this year, better than any player in the Pac-12.

Again: Follow his eyes.

"I put my head up toward the rim and just keep my eyes on that square [on the backboard]," he said. "I finish the ball any way I can. I take pride in that — it shows what I work on."

But as one of two seniors for Utah (10-3), it's not the only thing worth working on for Bonam, who has seen some swings this season. Averaging the fourth-most points on the team (13.6 ppg), Bonam has at times been the slashing finisher that Utah has needed him to be. But other times, particularly when called upon to run offense, he's had struggles: His 37 turnovers this year are 10 more than any other player.

It was those struggles, perhaps, that led to Bonam coming off the bench for the first time since his junior year in the final two games of the Diamond Head Classic. He struggled from deep (1 for 7) and struggled to defend. But his ability to get to the free throw line (18 attempts in three games) helped even out his performances and close out the tournament with two wins.

Coach Larry Krystkowiak wouldn't talk much about the particulars of his decision to bring Bonam off the bench, nor his decision to reinstate him as a starter against Colorado. But he was clear on one point: As one of two returning starters, he expects more from Bonam than other players.

"Certainly as a captain and a senior for our squad, I maybe hold the bar a little higher for a guy like 'Zo," he said. "Less tolerating of some mistakes and things like that."

Bonam said he didn't take the move personally. He knows he'll be in the midst of competition for the rest of season with sophomore Sedrick Barefield, with whom he's been swapping in the starting lineup, and Utah's other guards in the rotation.

Krystkowiak told him early on in his recruiting: He doesn't favor experienced players over newcomers. That edict is guiding him even more this year.

"You never get mad over things like that; you're never gonna see me down about that," Bonam said. "It's about two point guards who gotta push each other. The coaches don't have favorites. Nothing changed. We still made plays."

Bonam has cultivated a reputation as a big game player: Last year against Colorado, he hit a game-winning shot in the final seconds. He also notched the game-tying layup against Cal as time expired. But many nights where he sinks or floats can also be tied to losses: In six of Utah's nine defeats last year, he scored seven points or fewer.

He also said he's had to learn leadership off the floor: With new faces in the program, there's been the occasional lapse — cases when players have been late to or missed a class. As a team captain, when it happens, Bonam is one of the players who has to answer for it.

Leadership, of course, is a little trickier than keeping his eyes on the square. It requires consistency and effort, and being more willing to stand up. Bonam hasn't always been one of the vocal leaders of the team, but he's trying to find that now.

"We've got to help each other do the right things, and help [coaches] help us," Bonam said. "With me being the leader, I gotta take that role on and be more vocal."

A funny thing about Bonam against Arizona: He's only known the one win Utah got last year. He's never been to McKale Center. He's never felt the anguish that the Utes felt for 18 years of losing to the Wildcats.

But Bonam said going forward into Thursday night's game, he's not worried about the five-star recruits, the crowd or the series history. He's focused on himself and building his team. And he thinks Arizona should be focused on the Utes, too.

"We work with each other to become better and show [the] Pac-12 that we're no 8th-place team," he said. "We're gonna give them what we got."

Twitter: @kylegoon —

Utah at No. 17 Arizona

P At the McKale Center, Tucson, Ariz. Tipoff • 8 p.m.

TV • FS1

Radio • ESPN700 AM

Records • Utah (10-3, 1-0); Arizona (13-2, 2-0)

Series history • Arizona leads 30-29

Last meeting • Feb. 27, 2016 at Utah; Utah 70, Arizona 64

About the Utes • Utah has not won in Tucson since 1986, dropping six straight at McKale Center since 1992. … Two Utes are among the top five in the Pac-12 in shooting percentage: senior Lorenzo Bonam (59.4, third) and freshman Devon Daniels (58.5, fourth). … As a team, Utah is No. 5 nationally in two-point percentage ranked by KenPom, shooting 58.6 percent against Division I competition.

About the Wildcats • Freshman 7-footer Lauri Markkanen is leading the team in both points (15.8 ppg) and rebounds (7.3 rpg) while shooting 44.3 percent on 3-pointers. … The Wildcats are No. 12 nationally in scoring defense (60.3 ppg) and are KenPom's No. 9 team in adjusted defensive efficiency. … Recently making a return from an ankle sprain, junior guard Parker Jackson Cartwright has two points and 10 assists in his first two games back.