Washburn, Utah getting noticed for right moves

LYNN DeBRUIN AP Sports Writer Published:

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- The nasty chants that rained down on Jason Washburn during Utah's Pac-12 opener last week were hard to ignore.

Instead of being insulted, the Utes' 6-foot-10 center took them as a sign that his play was being noticed.

Considering how far Utah had fallen off the college basketball map last season during a 6-25 campaign, the razzing almost felt good.

Now, after putting up big numbers in pushing ASU and No. 3 Arizona to the brink last weekend, Washburn needs a similar effort at home Thursday against high-scoring UCLA (12-3, 2-0), winner of seven straight.

It's a matchup of the Pac-12's top offense, led by freshman forward Shabazz Muhammad (19.6 points a game), and Utah's conference-best defense.

Washburn is a big part of that D, the lone holdover from the Jim Boylen era.