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Utes hope to end losing streak to BYU

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - The Runnin' Utes will try to end a 7-game losing streak to the Cougars Saturday night at the Huntsman Center.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - While Utah has owned the rivalry over BYU in football the last few years, the Cougars have dominated the Utes on the basketball court, winning seven straight and 11 of 12 against their rivals.

But with Utah off to an 8-1 start, that streak may come to an end Saturday night at the Huntsman Center.

"I'd be lying if I said I was caught up in all that," said head coach Larry Krystkowiak about the rivalry. "My stomach is upside down just trying to figure out how to be competitive and try to get ourselves a win."

"Coach hasn't really talked about ending the streak or anything," said forward Delon Wright. "He just wants to win a game. He's not really worried the streak."

While Krystkowiak isn't ready to say the rivalry is on the verge of swinging Utah's way, he is happy with the way his team has come out of the gates so far this season.

"We're excited to be in a position where our program is getting a little more established and getting some of the foundation in place," he said. "We're feeling a lot better about some of our opportunities and some of our wins."

The Utes last beat BYU in February of 2009 in a 94-88 overtime thriller at the Huntsman Center. The arena will be packed Saturday night as the Utes try to record their most impressive win of the season.

"I'm ready to play in front of a big crowd," Wright said. "I heard it's going to be sold out, so I'm ready to play in front of the fans."

The Cougars like to get up and down the court as fast as possible, but the Utes, who lead the nation in 2-point field goal percentage, feel they have the athletes to run with any team in the country.

"I don't think we're going to go in with the intention of slowing it down," Krystkowiak said. "They play up tempo and I think we've shown the ability to do the same thing. They're a great offensive rebounding team, so before we can start thinking about pushing the tempo, we've got to make sure we're securing some defensive rebounds."

Led by sophomore sensation Jordan Loveridge, who grew up around the rivalry in West Jordan, the Utes have been blowing lesser teams out this season. But BYU is the best team they've faced this season.

"It's a team in the same town and it's one of the top teams in the nation," said Loveridge, who scored a career-high 27 points Tuesday against Idaho State. "So this is really a game we want to win."

"This is a challenge that we need," added Wright. "This is going to test us to see where we're at."

"I love the rivalry," Krystkowiak said. "It's one of the classic rivalries in college. To me, this is one of the big ones."

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