November 21, 2015

After Utah was outplayed by a reputable but unranked opponent, coach Larry Krystkowiak should be interested to see if his team can quickly bounce back against another one.

The No. 16 Utes can do so Sunday against Temple in the third-place game of the Puerto Rico Tipoff.

Utah (3-1) won its first three games despite shooting 41.9 percent. The Utes made half of their 48 attempts Friday, but they allowed Miami to shoot 53.4 percent and score 23 points off their 16 turnovers in the 90-66 semifinal loss.

"I shared with our team that life is about 10 percent what happens to you, and about 90 percent how you respond to it," Krystkowiak said.

"Our team needs to get tougher. We pretty much got punched in the mouth, and we didn't do a very good job in responding."

Jordan Loveridge scored 18 and Jakob Poeltl had 16 for the Utes, who haven't dropped consecutive games since losing their last two in 2013-14. They can perhaps prevent that from happening again by taking better care of the basketball against a Temple team forcing just 8.3 turnovers per game.

"You can't defend turnovers," said Krystkowiak, whose group committed 29 turnovers in the first three contests. "It just puts too much strain on your basketball squad to have to do that and it's really hard to overcome.

"When you get outplayed from a toughness point of view, and then you shoot yourself in the foot with turnovers, it's a deadly combination."

While Loveridge (20.3 points per game) and Poeltl (18.0 ppg) have been responsible for 50.7 percent of Utah's scoring, Krystkowiak needs starting guard Brandon Taylor and key reserve Dakarai Tucker to step up.

Taylor averaged 10.6 points and shot a career-high 43.9 percent from 3-point range last season, but he's scoring 6.5 per contest while going 5 for 26 from beyond the arc through four games. Tucker shot 37.9 percent from 3 in his first three seasons and averaged a career-high 7.2 points in 2014-15, but the senior swingman is 1 of 8 from distance and has totaled only five points - none in the last three games.

"I've got a lot of faith in Brandon and Dakarai," Krystkowiak said. "They're good shooters."

Temple (1-2) has shot 38.5 percent through the first week, but has held Minnesota and No. 22 Butler to 37.1 percent in Puerto Rico after letting top-ranked North Carolina hit 50.7 percent in a 91-67 defeat. The Owls held an early 10-point lead Friday against the Bulldogs, but shot 38.0 percent and was outscored 22-14 in second-chance points in the 74-69 semifinal loss.

Temple made all but one of its nine free-throw attempts, but Butler went to the line 25 times and made 21.

"Butler was a very good team (Friday), and we needed to be a little better team than we were," coach Fran Dunphy said. "I was pleased with some of the things we did, but not everything.

"Because of how good a basketball team (Butler) is, we learned a lot about ourselves and how we can get better from here."

Guard Quenton DeCosey averages a team-leading 15.7 points, and had 24 with 10 rebounds against Butler.

This is the first meeting between the schools.

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