SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – The Utes basketball season is off to a good start.
Sedrick Barefield led the way with 18 points while Donnie Tillman chipped in with 15 points, as the Utes knocked off Maine in their season opener at the Huntsman Center, 75-61.
Parker Van Dyke scored 11 points on 4 of 6 shooting, including making 3 of 5 from three-point range.
In his new role as a point guard, Barefield made 5 of 14 shots, dished out eight assists, but also had five turnovers.
“So far he’s been well,” head coach Larry Krystkowiak said about Barefield’s move to point guard. “We’re gonna see a lot of different things, but he’s got the ball in his hands. We’ve got to get a couple other guys some reps, but I don’t think our program has ever necessarily been relying on one person to do it. We’d like to get the ball to Sed at the end of a shot clock, so he can be a ball in hand guard at that point. But I’ve been pleased with it so far.”
The Utes led by 17 at break, up 45-28 on the Black Bears, but Maine managed to shoot its way back to within single digits and found themselves down just 55-46 with less than 12 minutes to play in the second half. Utah would get the lead back to 13 following a 9-5 run, but a barrage of three-pointers from the opposing squad pulled Maine back to within nine, down 66-57 with 3:58 left on the clock.
Out of a timeout, Jayce Johnson put down a monster dunk to open a 7-0 run, which included a three-pointer from Van Dyke and a pair of free throws from Barefield. Maine would score four of the game’s final six points, but Utah kept the Black Bears scoreless over the final 51 seconds to play.
“In transition in the first half we got out and pushed it pretty well,” said Krystkowiak. “The Maine team was solid with their zone, they presented a lot of open threes for us and I thought maybe we overshot some of them. We scored 25 points in the first 8 minutes and then it kind of dried up.”
Novak Topalovic had 9 points and 10 rebounds in his Utah debut, while freshman Timmy Allen added six points and six assists.
Utah is back in action this coming Monday, Nov. 12, as the team will make its first road trip of the season to face Big Ten foe, Minnesota at 7:00 p.m.