It became evident early in the game that Larry Krystkowiak's game plan involved running the offense through Austrian center Jakob Poeltl. A projected first round draft pick back in 2015, Poeltl surprised the Pac-12 by returning to Utah for his sophomore season instead of opting for the NBA, a decision that has paid dividends for the Runnin' Utes. Poeltl finished the game with a double-double, registering 25 points and 10 rebounds.
Utah's defense kept Josh Hawkinson off the scoreboard in the first half, which probably should have been an indicator that the Cougars were in trouble when their best player wasn't getting any open looks. Hawkinson's first field goal attempt came with just three minutes left in the opening half, so credit due to the Runnin' Utes preventing Hawkinson and the rest of the Cougars from having any success shooting the ball. The Cougars finished the game shooting 31 percent from the floor, much of which can be credited to Utah's defense.
In addition to Poeltl's 25 points, the Runnin' Utes added 14 from Jordan Loveridge, 12 from Brekkott Chapman, and 10 from Kyle Kuzma. It's apparent that despite losing guard Delon Wright to the NBA last season, Utah carries a potent offense that runs through Poeltl and their forwards.
For the second straight game, Que Johnson was the leading scorer for Washington State, scoring 13 points this afternoon. Freshman Robert Franks was the only other Cougar to score double-digits, adding 10 points, seven of those coming from the free-throw line. Hawkinson and Ike Iroegbu combined for seven points, which has the makings for an offensive disaster, as 47 points is the lowest points scored total for the Cougars this season.
The Cougars return to Pullman this week for the final home series of the season against the Bay Area schools. Stanford, coming off a huge win against No. 11 Oregon, will be in on Thursday night and California will play on Sunday evening during senior night, as the Cougars will honor seniors Junior Longrus and Brett Boese pregame.