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Utah's hottest 3-point shooter has made his past five shots from beyond the arc, and was 3 for 3 from deep on Thursday night in the 86-64 win over USC.

What's most remarkable about Devon Daniels' surge: He had two 3-pointers as of a week ago this season. The 6-foot-5 freshman isn't Utah's top 3-point option, but coach Larry Krystkowiak isn't about to argue with it.

"To be honest with you, I didn't really want him shooting threes," he said. "He's got an awful lot of confidence in his shooting ability. I'm with him. ... It doesn't necessarily look technically sound, but it says a lot about his ability. The rim looks pretty big when he's casting it up there."

Daniels led the Utes in scoring with 17 points, his third straight game in double figures. Shooting 6 for 9, Daniels has begun making difficult shots look routine, and maintained aggression whether driving to the lane or hoisting it up from deep.

For the season, Daniels is shooting 59.4 percent from the floor. But Krystkowiak also cited his hustle as a key factor in his starting role this season.

"I haven't seen too many freshmen come in and play that hard," he said. "He seems a little bit further ahead of the curve."

Back in action

After a back injury last week, Krystkowiak was on the sidelines Thursday.

The 52-year-old had a scare at Arizona State last weekend in the final minute of the game, requiring assistance from Utah's training staff and Arizona State's team doctors. He was carted out of the arena in a wheelchair, but was later able to walk without assistance.

During the game, Krystkowiak strolled the sideline with a normal-looking gait. Of course, appearances can be slightly deceiving.

"Not so hot," he said when asked about his back afterward. "It started to stove up on me me a little bit. But old age."

He had given some earlier indications he was doing fine: On Wednesday, Krystkowiak appeared in a video of a U. of U. physics class demonstration in which he laid on a nailboard, then held another nailboard on his chest while gymnast MyKayla Skinner stood on it.

It's Mitt

Los Angeles might be the spot known for celebrities in attendance, but Utah had one on Thursday night as former Massachusetts governor and presidential candidate Mitt Romney took in the game from a courtside seat. Romney attended Stanford and BYU, and in recent years has made Salt Lake Valley his home.

Twitter: @kylegoon