Starting a game by trailing 10-0 is not idea, but that’s what Utah did against USC Thursday night. Fortunatley, for the Utes, they countered with their own 11-0 run to take the lead, and they wouldn’t look back from there. The Utes were balanced and efficent against the Trojans. In the first half, it was mostly Kyle Kuzma leading the attack, with 10 points (12 on the night) and attacking the Trojan defense from all angles, including hitting a three and slashing to the hoop. David Collette was Kuz’s compliment in the opening half with 10 points as well, (15 on the night)and even hit a three himself after USC was practically begging him to shoot it. Utah started to stretch their lead late in the first half, but were robbed of a charge call when Tyler Rawson was ran over to end the half, but the officials gave USC a pair of free throws. Poor Rawson couldn’t catch a break, as he had 4 fouls in 9 minutes of play, and he picked up all of his fouls in about 5 of those minutes.
I was wondering if USC would come out firing in the second half, but they really didn’t. Both teams traded some ugly turnovers early on, which USC could have capitalized on, but they didn’t. After the ugly five or so minutes of the second half, Utah turned things on and never looked back. It was the guard line which put things away with Lorenzo Bonam, Sedrick Barefield, JoJo Zamora and Devon Daniels leading the way. Bonam had 15, Barefield 14 and Daniels had 17 of his own, and each was spectacular in their own right. Bonam really put the capper on the game with his alley oop dunk from Barefield. Barefield, who has been struggling with his shot, was able to hit from deep a couple of times, which the team hit 9 of 17 from downtown on the night. Barefield also played some good defense, including a steal of an inbounds pass and layup under the basket. Daniels did a bit of everything, including hitting three threes, and constantly attacked the USC paint.
Overall, a solid win over a likely overrated USC team, but a win Utah needs to help build their resume. The Utes sit at 3-1 in the PAC-12, and now take on UCLA Saturday afternoon at the Huntsman Center.