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Runnin’ Utes pick up season opening win over Prairie View A&M

Although they got off to a slow start, the Utah men’s basketball team found their way and defeated Prairie View A&M 83-62 Friday night in the Jon M. Huntsman Center

Sedrick Barefield led the Runnin’ Utes with a game-high 22 points. Barefield was 6-6 in the first half and led the Utes with 16 points as Utah took a 39-31 lead to end the first half.

The Utes may have commanded the lead but they struggled early on against Prairie View’s full court press. Utah turned the ball over 12 times in the first half which lead to 11 points for Prairie View.

“I think they (Prairie View) smelled a little blood when they (the Utes) turned ball over and that amped them up a little bit,” said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak. “We made a few adjustments with their press and then came out and had a really good 10 minutes in the second half.”

The Utes opened the second half scoring 19 unanswered points. Prairie View turned the ball over five times and missed their first nine shots. Prairie View didn’t get on the board until Gary Blackstone made a layup at the 13:13 mark. Prairie View ended up going on a 12-4 run to get back within 19 points, down 62-43. PVAMU scored eight of the game’s final 12 points down the stretch. All of those points came from the free throw line.

Barefield finished the game going 8-for-12 from the field, which included a 1-for-3 effort from beyond the arc.

Coach Krystkowiak will be looking to Barefield as one of the leading guys to knock down buckets.

“Sedrick is capable of doing that. This was that type of game that it was less about execution. Players make plays. plays don’t make plays. We can draw up all we want. But at the end of the day, the easiest thing for us with the pressure — when they’re picking up from 70 feet — is to come up and offer a little on-ball screen and let him (Barefield) make a play and let the instincts take over,” said Krystkowiak.

David Collette, who found himself in foul trouble early on, finished the game with 17 points. Tyler Rawson was right behind Collette with 16, going 3-of-6 from beyond the arc.

Next up, the Utes host Mississippi Valley State on November 13. Tipoff is set for 7:00 p.m. and will be televised live on the Pac -12 Networks.