The Utes bounced back for a nice home win Thursday night against Stanford, after a terrible showing against Colorado about a week ago. The Utes were down a man, with Donnie Tillman sitting out the game, and was listed as day-to-day going foward, for some unknown reason (as of right now at least). The Utes were a lot more focused and sharp from the start, and they were able to use a big run late in teh first half to give themselves the distance they needed from Stanford and coasted through the remainder of the game.
Utah’s backcourt was awesome tonight, and it was great to see Justin Bibbins bounce back after a bit of a slump over the last couple of games. He ended the game with 18 pointson 7 of 9 shooting, including 4 of 4 from three. Stanford wasn’t able to stop him all night long, and his 4 assists were really nice too. He did a great job penetrating the Cardinal defense and finishing at the rim. His ability to get around the court was big to breaking down the defense. Jumping back into the starting lineup due to the missing Tillman, Barefield continues his great play. He pitched in 17 points on 6 of 14 shooting, while he only hit one three, he was a threat all night long and kept the defense honest. He and Bibbins were scrapping for the ball all night long. His four assists and two steals really were a huge addition to the team, and shows he was locked in on both sides of the ball. He’s really fun to watch, and hopefully he can keep his confidence up. David Collette was a super efficient 6 of 6 from the floor and finished the night with 13 points. Not to be too much outdone, while he struggled scoring, Tyler Rawson’s 10 rebounds and five assists showed how much of a stat stuffer he can be, even when not scoring.
Utah’s defense was great too, holding Stanford to 36% shooting, and while Stanford missed some easy shots, the Utes were moving well and contesting looks. They were flying around and played with a ton of energy. Utah was still out rebounded by 7, which remains a problem, and gave up 12 offensive boards, which they’re lucky didn’t bite them. They need to get that cleaned up.
All in all a nice win, and now Utah hosts the California Golden Bears in the 1998 Final Four Reunion game this Saturday, Feb. 10th at 7:30 p.m. MT.