This one was over early, as the Utes ran LSU out of the Huntsman Center on Monday night to advance to the 3rd round of the NIT by a socre of 95-71. Utah jumped out to a 17-7 lead, and a 30-11 lead afte the first quarter and at that point LSU had no chance. LSU did have a 10-0 run spanning the 2nd and 3rd quarters cutting Utah’s lead from 25 to 15, but after that Utah kept the lead to around 20+ points the remainder of the game.
Utah was balanced, with 5 Utes in double figures, with 17 from Barefield, 16 from Bibbins, 13 from Bealer and 12 a peice from Rawson and Colllette. Coach K moving Barefield back into the starting lineup was a good move, as it seemed to spark him just a little bit. Utah was hot all game long, as they shot just shy of 58% from the field and 52% from three. It was the polar opposite of what happened against UC Davis, as Utah was sharp and focused all game long. They did get a bit sloppy at times with some turnovers, but the passing was on point, with 20 assists. Utah was always lookingfor the next pass, and it was beautiful. Donnie Tillman had a nice game too, with 6 points and 6 rebounds, including an awesome block and save of possession to spark a three on the other end. Jayce Johnson had a big impact too with 8 points and 9 rebounds.
On defense, the Utes were solid, holding LSU to 44% shooting and 26% shooting from three. Waters for LSU was an absolute stud, and is going to be a terror in the SEC for years to come. He dropped 19 points on the Utes, although he struggled from three only going 1 of 8.
It’s nice to see Utah rally in this tournament and to get to what’s basically the Elite 8 of the NIT. After a pretty poor effort for 3 quarters against UC Davis, their last 5 quarters have been great. Now they will play the winner of Washington or St Mary’s. If Washington wins Utah will meet them at the Huntsman Center. If it’s St Mary’s, Utah will pack the bags for Northern California. The next game will be on Wednesday, so a pretty quick turn around for the Utes. If Utah wins the next game, they’ll be on their way to NYC for the last couple games in the NIT.