This Utah/ASU matchup is turning into something else, isn’t it? The sequal ended with the same score, and similar drama as last time, with Utah winning 80-77 in overtime. The difference this time is Utah hit the three at the end to send it into overtime. Also, Bobby Hurley is a good coach, but he’s a head case, right?! His team is taking on his personality too, which I don’t think is a great thing.
Anyway, to the game, Utah started better this time around, but the first half was a tale of two halfs in itself. The first 10 minutes, the Utes didn’t play well, and ASU was getting too many easy shots, and Utah was rushing a lot of shots due to ASU’s speed. The Devils were on pace for an 80+ point night at that point, and then Utah turned things around in the second half of the half when the defense got better and the offense started hitting open shots. Utah actually controlled long stretches of this game, and thanks to Justin Bibbins, he really kept ASU off balance. Making a big impression on this game, especially in the first half was Jayce Johnson. The big man had 15 points and was really smooth around the hoop. This is about as well as I’ve seen him play, which is encouraging for his development. His 6 rebounds were nice too, and ASU has problems handling him.
The second half was a battle, not only between the teams, but the officials really inserted themselves into this game. Both sides were called poorly, and I though both Hurley or Coach K were going to slam an official before the game was over. Some really questionable calls put Bibbins into foul trouble, which ultimately led him to foul out with about 5 minutes remaining in the game. At that point, things were scary for the Utes, as the clock started to wind down the Utes found themselves down three, but Sedrick Barefield answered the call. Barefield hit a beautiful three from the right wing to tie the game with just over a second remaining in regulation. His effort carried over into overtime, as he scored all 17 of his points in that second half and overtime, and is proving maybe the bench is the best place for him. He’s been a major factor off the bench the last couple of games. I can’t leave out Tyler Rawson too, he played well most of the game, putting up 15 points, and had also 9 rebounds and 4 assists. He’s also played so well since the LA trip. The Utes are playing well, overall, and hopefully they can keep it up in Tucson, where they’re yet to win.