It was a game where Utah pretty much put it away within the first 17 minutes against Utah State, and then they had to hold on over the next 23 to not blow a 21 point lead. Utah came out on fire, led by David Collette against his former team, and built that 21 point lead on great defense, excellent shooting and crazy energy. Collette was a man possessed in that opening half. He had 9 of his 13 points, and he was about as aggressive as I’ve ever seen him. He was dunking on fools, and was attacking the rim relentlessly. Not to mention on defense, he was jumping passing lanes and blocking shots. It was an impressive effort. Tyler Rawson wasn’t to be out done, as he had 14 points in that opening half, and was a hard matchup for USU. For USU, some dude named Tyler Quinn actually kept the Aggies within striking distance at the end of the half with 20 points.
In the 2nd half, it almost seemed like the Utes went into a prevent, ice the clock scenario for the entire half. It was strange, and it didn’t help when David Collette got into foul trouble and didn’t play much of the 2nd half, and was rather ineffective. USU kept making things interesting at points in that 2nd half, when they’d pull within 5 or 6 at various parts of the half. In the 2nd half, it was closing time for Justin Bibbins who bailed out the Utes over and over again. He had 11 of his 16 points in the 2nd half, and kept things together when they could have fell apart. Sedric Barefield’s 7 second half points were big too, but he had some shots that would have ended this game earlier, but he’s struggling. With Bibbins, it’s nice to have a point guard that can put the team on his shoulders and keep things together.
Utah was minus-4 in the turnover column tonight, and gave USU 12 offensive boards, that allowed the Aggies to continue to chip away at Utah’s lead. That’s something that Utah needs to fix before the next game, when they travel to Provo. That atmosphere will be a bit different than the one tonight, and one Utah needs to be prepared for.