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Utah Basketball’s 12 Best Wins Under Larry Krystkowiak

Utah Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak talks with reporters during media day in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2018. (Courtesy of Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Utah basketball has some big wins during the 10 seasons under Larry Krystkowiak as head coach for the Runnin’ Utes.

Last week, Utah athletic director Mark Harlan decided to relieve Larry Krystkowiak of his duties as head coach. Just because the Krystkowiak era is over in Utah, doesn’t mean the program picked up big wins along the way.

Here are the 12 best wins for Utah basketball while Larry Krystkowiak was head coach (in no particular order).

2011-12 – Utah Basketball Gets Overtime Win Over Washington State (First Pac-12 Win)

The beginning of the Larry Krystkowiak era was rough for Utah fans to remember. Jim Boylen didn’t do the Runnin’ Utes program any favors when he was fired the year before. Utah started the season with a three-point win over San Diego Christian before losing the next eight games. After picking up a pair of wins over Idaho State and Portland, the Utes fell to Weber State and Colorado.

In their first ever Pac-12 home game, they hosted Washington State on January 5, 2012. Utah outscored the Cougars 29-23 before being outscored by Wazzu 31-25 to force overtime. The Utes ended up getting a 62-60 win over the Cougars. Josh Watkins led Utah with 20 points, 7 rebounds and 6 assists. Jason Washburn added 11 points, while Dijon Farr chipped in 10 points.

Utah went 6-25 that season, including a 3-15 record in conference. They beat Washington State, Arizona State and Stanford all at home in Pac-12 play. The Utes’ season ended with a first round loss to Colorado in the Pac-12 Tournament.

2012-13 – Larry Krystkowiak Leads Utah Past No. 19 Oregon

Utah didn’t play any ranked teams in their first season under Krystkowiak. During the 2012-13 season, they played four ranked opponents. They were able to get one win out of those four and it was on senior night against No. 19 Oregon. This game showed fans a glimpse of the future of Utah basketball.

True freshmen Brandon Taylor and Jordan Loveridge scored 14 points apiece. Jarred DuBois added 15 and Jason Washburn had a tremendous performance in his last home game. He posted 20 points and 13 rebounds as the Utes picked up a 72-62 win over the Ducks.

Utah posted a 15-18 overall record and 5-13 mark in Pac-12 play. As the No. 10 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament, Utah beat USC by three in the first round, Cal by 10 in overtime in the second round before losing to Oregon in the semifinals.

2014-15 – Runnin’ Utes Take Down No. 8 Wichita State

As a team out of the Missouri Valley Conference, Wichita State was playing like a team in a power conference. They traveled to the Huntsman Center as the No. 8 team in the country, while Utah was No. 25 on December 3, 2014.

Utah had a nine-point lead late in the second half before the Shockers made their run. They were able to force overtime. Delon Wright scored a floater in the lane with 13 seconds left to put Utah up by one point. Chris Reyes was at the free throw line, missing his attempt when Jakob Poeltl pulled down the offensive rebound. The Utes pulled off the upset 69-68 in the first game at the Huntsman Center between two top 25 teams since 1999.

Brandon Taylor led the way with 17 points and 4 assists. Poeltl notched a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. Delon Wright and Dakari Tucker each scored 13 points.

Utah finished the season with a 26-9 overall record and 13-5 in Pac-12 play. They reached the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament before losing to No. 1 seed Duke.

2014-15 – Utes Make NCAA Tournament Run To Sweet Sixteen

For the first time since 2009, Utah basketball was back in the NCAA Tournament with a 26-9 overall record and 13-5 in Pac-12 play. They were the No. 5 seed in the east region, facing No. 12 Stephen F. Austin in the first round. The Runnin’ Utes pulled out a 57-50 win over the Lumberjacks behind 18 points from Jakob Poeltl. Jordan Loveridge chipped in 12 points and Delon Wright recorded 11 points and 6 rebounds. It was Utah’s first NCAA Tournament win since 2005.

Utah moved on to face No. 4 Georgetown in the second round in Portland. The game was tied at 32 at halftime before the Utes outscored the Hoyas 43-32 to pick up a 75-64 win. Brandon Taylor led the Utes with 14 points. Delon Wright and Jakob Poeltl each scored 12 points. Dakari Tucker provided 11 points and Jordan Loveridge added 10 points.

The Runnin’ Utes moved on to the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2005. They would head to Houston to face No. 1 seed Duke at NRG Stadium. Utah scrapped with the Blue Devils for the entire game but a crucial fourth foul on Delon Wright and both Brekkott Chapman and Brandon Taylor fouled out, it wasn’t enough to pull off the upset. Duke beat Utah 63-57. Taylor led the Utes with 15 points. Dallin Bachynski scored 11 points off the bench, while both Wright and Jakob Poeltl dropped 10 points apiece.

Due to NCAA rules, highlights cannot be posted on personal or professional social media accounts. To watch the run to the Sweet Sixteen for the Utes, click here.

2015-16 – Larry K Beats Mike K At Madison Square Garden

After a tremendous season in 2014-15 when Utah reached the Sweet Sixteen, it was time to build off of that. Utah was willing to head to the east coast and face No. 7 Duke at their home away from home, Madison Square Garden. It was a slugfest as the Utes took a three-point lead to halftime before the Blue Devils sent the game to overtime. In the extra period, the Utes outscored Duke 17-15 to give Larry K. the win over Mike K. in the battle of the Coach K’s.

Kyle Kuzma scored 21 points and pulled down 8 rebounds to lead the Utes. Jakob Poeltl added 19 points and 14 boards. Lorenzo Bonam chipped in 12 points and 9 assists.

The Runnin’ Utes finished the season with a 27-9 overall record and 13-5 in Pac-12 play. They reached the Pac-12 Championship game before losing to Oregon. Then they reached their second straight NCAA Tournament and beat Fresno State in the first round before bowing out of the big dance with a loss to Gonzaga.

2015-16 – Utah Beats No. 8 Arizona

When Utah joined the Pac-12 in 2011, they didn’t beat Arizona in basketball until February 27, 2016, losing the first nine meetings. On that night at the Huntsman Center, the Wildcats were No. 8 in the country, while Utah was No. 22.

Utah took a 40-29 halftime lead before the Wildcats stormed back. Brandon Taylor made some big shots down the stretch to lift the Utes to a 70-64 win. Taylor finished with 19 points and 5 steals. Jakob Poeltl added 14 points and 10 rebounds.

The Runnin’ Utes finished the season with a 27-9 overall record and 13-5 in Pac-12 play. They reached the Pac-12 Championship game before losing to Oregon. Then they reached their second straight NCAA Tournament and beat Fresno State in the first round before bowing out of the big dance with a loss to Gonzaga.

2015-16 – Overtime Win Over California To Advance To Pac-12 Title Game

It was a tough Pac-12 Tournament run for the Utes in 2016. They received the No. 2 seed and had a first round bye. Starting with USC, Utah picked up an 80-72 win. When they faced Cal in the semifinals, Utah trailed by two points with less than 10 seconds left. Lorenzo Bonam went the full length of the court and scored a layup to send the game to overtime.

Utah outscored the Golden Bears 12-8 in OT to collect the 82-78 win. Jakob Poeltl had 29 points and 11 rebounds in the win. Jordan Loveridge also notched a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Bonam finished with 18 points. Brandon Taylor chipped in 12 points.

The Runnin’ Utes finished the season with a 27-9 overall record and 13-5 in Pac-12 play. They reached the Pac-12 Championship game before losing to Oregon. Then they reached their second straight NCAA Tournament and beat Fresno State in the first round before bowing out of the big dance with a loss to Gonzaga.

2017-18 – Runnin’ Utes Defeat No. 21 Arizona State In Tempe

Things didn’t look good for Utah against the 21st ranked Arizona State Sun Devils on January 25, 2018. Justin Bibbins fouled out after scoring 15 points. Sedrick Barefield buried a three-pointer to send the game to overtime. In the extra period, Utah outscored ASU 11-8 and picked up an 80-77 win for their first victory over a ranked team on the road since 1999.

Barefield led the way with 17 points off the bench. Tyler Rawson and Jayce Johnson had 15 points apiece. Utah ended the season with a 23-12 overall record and 11-7 in Pac-12 play. They participated in the NIT before losing to Penn State in the championship game.

2017-18 – Utah Makes Deep Run In NIT

Utah was on the bubble of making the NCAA Tournament in the 2017-18 season. But they didn’t hear their name called on Selection Sunday. They received the No. 2 seed in the NIT. The Runnin’ Utes made a run in the tournament with a 69-59 win over UC Davis in the first round. They went on to beat LSU 95-71 in the second round. Utah needed overtime to beat No. 1 seed Saint Mary’s in Moraga, but got the victory with a final score of 67-58. The Utes advanced to the national semifinals at Madison Square Garden.

Utah beat the Hilltoppers 69-64 to advance to the Championship game against Penn State but ran out of gas, falling to the Nittany Lions 82-66. What was at first a disappointing outcome for Utah not making the tournament, they made the most of it in the NIT.

2018-19 – Parker Van Dyke Nails Buzzer Beater To Knock Off UCLA

On February 9, 2019, Utah trailed by as much as 22-points at Pauley Pavilion against UCLA. They trailed 49-32 at halftime before dropping 61 points in the second half. UCLA had a two-point lead in the final seconds when Sedrick Barefield threw the ball behind him to Parker Van Dyke, who drilled a three-pointer at the buzzer to beat the Bruins 93-92.

Van Dyke finished with 15 points off the bench, all coming from the three-point line. Timmy Allen led the Runnin’ Utes with 22 points and 7 rebounds. Sedrick Barefield had 19 points and 7 assists, while Riley Battin added 18 points and 8 rebounds.

Utah finished the 2018-19 season with a 17-14 overall record and 11-7 in Pac-12 play. They lost to Oregon in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament.

2019-20 – Overtime Comeback Win Over BYU

BYU had a 16-point lead in the first half due to the tremendous play of Yoeli Childs, who was unstoppable in the first 20 minutes. After getting into leaving the game late in the second half due to cramping, Utah made their run. The Cougars held a three-point lead with 22 seconds left when true freshman Rylan Jones drilled a three to tie the game, sending it to overtime.

In the extra period, Utah took their first lead of the game with 4:49 left in overtime. They outscored BYU 16-9 in OT and picked up a 102-95 win at the Huntsman Center on December 4, 2019. Timmy Allen (27) and Rylan Jones (25) combined for 52 points. Mikael Jantunen scored 18 points off the bench and Riley Battin added 14.

The Runnin’ Utes finished the season with a 16-15 record and 7-11 in Pac-12 play. They lost to Oregon State on a buzzer beater in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament before COVID-19 shut down the sports world.

2019-20 – Utes Take Down No. 6 Kentucky In Las Vegas

What seemed like a situation that Kentucky didn’t want to play the Utes at the Huntsman Center to complete the home-and-home series but the two teams settled for T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. In a tightly contested game, Utah’s young core made tremendous plays down the stretch and took down No. 6 Kentucky with a 69-66 win.

Four Utah players reached double figures led by Timmy Allen with 25 points and 9 rebounds. Both Gach added 14 points and 6 rebounds. Rylan Jones chipped in 12 points and 6 assists. Riley Battin scored 10 points in the win.

The Runnin’ Utes finished the season with a 16-15 record and 7-11 in Pac-12 play. They lost to Oregon State on a buzzer beater in the first round of the Pac-12 Tournament before COVID-19 shut down the sports world.

Trevor Allen is a Utah Utes Insider for KSLSports.com and host of the Crimson Corner podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @TrevorASportsYou can download and listen to the podcast, here.

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