It wasn’t pretty, in fact, it was down right frustrating for most of the game, especially the first three quarters of the game (yes, we are playing quarters in these NIT games), but Utah eventually got their heads out of the sand and pulled out a win over UC Davis on Wednesday night at the Huntsman Center.
Utah trailed for three quarters of the game, and were just playing terribly. They couldn’t hit an open shot, it seemed like they were running in mud. Fortunately, UC Davis couldn’t really capitalize and Utah stayed within striking distance throughout the struggles. I’m a fan of the quarter system, and think it’s the way the game should be played, but I wonder if that had anything to do with the performance of the team. It really shouldn’t, but it was a situation that these kids haven’t played in since high school.
The turning point of the game was when Larry Krystkowiak started arguing some terrible call by the officials, and he got T’d up. Then he really got ticked off and went after the officials and got tossed from the game. The officiating was really poor, and Coach K had enough, plus he was probably looking for a spark for his team. The down side is UC Davis was able to hit 4 straight free throws to give them some breathing room over Utah.
Justin Bibbins did what he has done all year long, and that is lead Utah, and he led them back to get the win. His 21 points led the. team, and he hit a couple of crucial threes that helped put UC Davis away. His 8 of 8 from the free throw line was huge, and his 6 rebounds were impressive too. He’s a gamer, and I hope we get to maximize his time remaining. David Collette was in foul trouble, so he was limited, but Donnie Tillman had a nice game. He had the bucket that gave the Utes the lead for good. He’s a tough matchup for guys, because he’s a bit of a tweener right now.
All-in-all, a nice win for the Utes, not pretty, but a nice win to get off to a good start in the NIT. Tommy Connor did a great job in Coach K’s absence, and Utah just battled.
Next up is LSU at the Huntsman Center on Monday at 7pm.