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Marcio Jose Sanchez, AP Photo

Barefield’s hot hand lifts Utah past Saint Mary’s to advance to NIT semis

By Josh Furlong, | Posted - Mar 21st, 2018 @ 10:43pm

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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is headed to “The Garden” in New York City.

The Utes needed overtime to pull out a 67-58 win over Saint Mary’s in the National Invitation Tournament quarterfinal round Wednesday to advance to the next round.

Utah junior Sedrick Barefield came alive in overtime, making three 3-pointers in extra time to give Utah some much-needed cushion to claim the victory of the higher-seeded Gaels. Barefield would finish the game with a team-high 19 points on 5-of-7 shooting from deep.

Saint Mary’s held a 7-point lead late in the game, following a 6-point performance by the Utes in the third quarter. But Utah weathered the run and chipped away at the Gaels’ lead to tie the game up following a pair of 3-pointers by Utah senior Tyler Rawson. Rawson finished the game with 17 points on 5-of-7 shooting from deep, and contributing seven rebounds in the win.

Utah was without senior center David Collette for the second half after tweaking his back. Collette played 14 minutes in the first half but was not available for the remainder of the game. Backup center Jayce Johnson, too, was absent late in the game after fouling out with just under 2 minutes left in the fourth quarter.

The Gaels outrebounded the Utes all night (40-26) in a lopsided battle of the board. But Utah finished the game shooting 48 percent from the field and 44 percent from the 3-point line while keeping Saint Mary’s center, Jock Landale, quiet in overtime.

Utah will travel to New York City to take on Western Kentucky in the semifinals round of the NIT on Tuesday. The game will be played at Madison Square Garden.

Josh Furlong

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