SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The reinforcements have arrived for the University of Utah in the form of David Collette and Sedrick Barefield.
Kyle Kuzma posted his sixth double-double of the season with 18 points and 15 rebounds as Utah cruised to a 92-60 victory over Prairie View A&M on Saturday, but all eyes were on the two newcomers.
Zachary Hamilton led Prairie View (2-10) with 26 points.
The most significant story of the game was the presence of power forward Collette and point guard Barefield. The two transferred to Utah last year, but just became eligible to play after the fall semester ended and Saturday was their first game. All of the required paperwork and final grades didn’t become official until Friday.
Collette started, but both are expected to be with the No. 1 unit as the season progresses.
“A little bit rusty,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “No matter what you do, you can’t get in that great of game condition until the popcorn starts popping.
“Two dynamic players. … Dave, our own guys were bouncing off him at times. He’s a pretty solid rock inside. … Sedrick gives you a little dynamic look. … Captain Obvious, I would say they were pretty darn excited.”
The Utes (7-2) received an immediate boost in the paint from the 6-foot-10 Collette, who showed toughness and good touch offensively. The Utah State transfer dealt with foul trouble, but finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.
“It’s been long enough,” said Collette, who was named a captain. “I’ve been through this before. I was a little anxious, a little nervous. But once the game starts, it goes away. It’s game-time.
“I’m the oldest on the team. They call me gramps, they’re my grandkids. … I’ve been through and know what it’s like. So I’ve got a little bit to offer, I think.”
Barefield came in off the bench and provided a much-needed additional shooter despite air-balling his first shot. The SMU transfer knocked down three 3-pointers in the first half and ended with 18 points.
“It was definitely worth the wait,” Barefield said. “By the way Dave was practicing, (you could tell) he was ready. I was a little anxious. Kind of overthinking things, so I kind of wasn’t being myself in practice.
“I kind of compare it to roller-coaster going up. But once the ball goes up, it’s just basketball.”
Prairie View: The Panthers lost their seventh straight, including the last six on the road. Prairie View is winding down its nonconference schedule before starting its real part of the season — Southwestern Athletic Conference play — on Jan. 2.
Utah: The Utes are finally at full strength with Collette and Barefield. Now Utah will see what type of team it truly is after an unspectacular start against a weak nonconference schedule.
STAT OF THE NIGHT
Utah shot a season-high 59.3 percent from the floor. The Utes shot 20 for 28 (71.4 percent) in the first half alone.
“They’re really, really, really a fabulous basketball team,” PVAMU coach Byron Smith said. “I would have enjoyed it a lot better if I was sitting at home watching them play as opposed to being on the other end of this crushing defeat.”
Prairie View: The Panthers travel to face George Mason on Thursday for their seventh consecutive road game.
Utah: Travels to Play San Francisco on Thursday in the first game of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic holiday tournament.
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