Runnin’ Utes sprint past Prairie View in season opener

Photo courtesy Utah Athletics

SALT LAKE CITY – Junior Sedrick Barefield scored a game-high 22 points, while leading the Utah Runnin’ Utes (1-0) to an 83-62 season-opening win over the Prairie View A&M Panthers (0-1) Friday evening at the Huntsman Center.

utesBarefield was 6-of-6 from the field in the first half and led the Utes with 16 points as Utah took a 39-31 lead into the intermission. Utah opened the first half outscoring the Panthers 19-8, but PVAMU would end up outscoring the Utes 23-20 over the final 13 minutes of the frame.

“Sedrick had a great game,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “I’m not all about numbers, but he was one of the guys that, when we went with some of the substitutes, they didn’t do a great job of handling it. Justin also had some foul trouble, so we wanted to keep the ball in Sedrick’s hands, and he made some good decisions.”

PVAMU would later cut its 11-point deficit all the way down to three points, trailing 34-31 with 1:44 left to play, but Barefield knocked down the final two shots, including a 3-pointer, for the Utes and gave the home squad an eight-point lead at the break.

Sedrick Barefield

Utah came out clicking on all cylinders and opened the second half with a 19-0 run. PVAMU would not score its first bucket of the second half until the 13:13 mark, but would end up going on a 12-4 run to get back within 19 points, down 62-43.

Utah later registered its largest lead of the night following a pair of free throws from newcomer Justin Bibbins, which pushed the score to 79-54 in favor of the Utes. PVAMU managed to score eight of the game’s final 12 points down the stretch, but all of their points came from the free throw line. PVAMU’s last field goal of the second half came with 3:44 still left on the clock.

Barefield finished the game going 8-for-12 from the field, which included a 1-for-3 effort from downtown. He was also 5-of-6 from the free throw line. Tyler Rawson led the way beyond the arc, connecting on 3-of-6 from downtown. David Collette was a perfect 5-for-5 from the field and 7-of-10 from the free throw line.

“I’ve always wanted to do what the team needs to win,” Barefield said. “Whether it’s taking five shots and getting everybody involved or taking 10 shots – It’s whatever the team needs.”

The Utes will be back in action this coming Monday, Nov. 13, hosting Mississippi Valley State. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. MT and the contest will be televised live on the Pac-12 Networks.

• Utah moved to 7-0 all-time in season-openers under coach Krystkowiak.
• The Utes pushed its record to 2-0 all-time against the Panthers.
• Barefield’s 16 first-half points set a new career-high for points through the first 20 minutes of play, surpassing his previous mark of 11 first-half points, which he scored against PVAMU last season (12/17/16).
• Barefield tallied at least 20 points for the just the second time in his career and for the first time since scoring 32 points against San Francisco (12/22/16).
• Collette’s 17 points on the evening was his largest output since notching 22 points last season against Washington State (2/9/17).
• Rawson’s 16-point effort was the third-largest point total of his career. It was the first time that he scored at least 16 points in a game since scoring 20 at Stanford (2/4/17) last season.
• Bibbins scored nine points on 2-of-4 shooting and had four assists in his debut with the Utes.
• Bibbins, Barefield and Rawson tied for the team lead with four assists each. Rawson led the team with nine boards.
• Donnie Tillman tallied a team-best two blocked shots on the evening.
• Utah finished the game shooting 51.8 percent from the field, 25.0 percent from three-point range and 66.7 percent from the charity stripe.
• The Utes limited PVAMU to just a 38.6 field goal shooting percentage. The Panthers shot 22.2 percent from the three-point arc and just 51.9 percent from the free throw line.
• Both teams scored 20 points each on turnovers. Utah had 19 turnovers, while PVAMU finished the game with 18 total.

Stats: Utah 83, PVAMU 62

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