SALT LAKE CITY — Parker Van Dyke had 20 points and Sedrick Barefield had 17 as the two seniors led Utah past the visiting USC Trojans in an 83-74 win Thursday.
Van Dyke hit six 3-pointers, including what looked like a tipped corner three late in the game, to keep USC (15-15, 8-9) at bay for a key conference win in the final week of play of the regular season. Barefield, who had only 5 points in the first half, came alive in the second half and finished the half with 12 points, including three 3-pointers in the half, seven rebounds and five assists.
USC kept the game close for much of the night before Utah went on a late 11-2 run that was capped off by a Donnie Tillman alley-oop pass to freshman Timmy Allen to give the Utes a 16-point lead — its largest of the night — to get the Huntsman Center rocking. It was just one of several highlight dunks by the team that including several from freshman Both Gach and Donnie Tillman en route to 22 fast-break points for the Utes.
Utah had five players in double figures on the night, including Allen’s 19 points, and Tillman and Gach’s 10 points apiece. The win puts Utah in sole possession of third place in the Pac-12 standings.
The Trojans managed a late-game push behind a full-court press to cut into Utah’s 16-point lead. USC forced turnovers and got quick buckets, including six of their last eight field goals down the stretch. But the Utes were too much and held off the late push. USC finished the game shooting 56 percent from the field and couldn’t combat Utah’s 36 points in the paint and 17 second-chance points.
“I thought we were pretty darn solid. Three-point shooting for that team is huge," Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "We had one of our season highs in deflections, had a lot of activity, and then had five guys in double figures."
Utah finished the game shooting 53 percent from the field but managed 11 3-pointers to USC seven. The Trojans kept the game close for much of the night with its early threes and the scoring by senior Bennie Boatwright’s 12 points in the first half. Boatwright, though, was held to only 5 points in the second half to finish with 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting.
Boatwright was one of three players that finished the night with 17 points to lead the Trojans; Elijah Weaver and Nick Rokocevic were the other two with 17 points apiece. Jonah Mathews added 10 points to round out the players in double figures for the Trojans.
Utah got the win without its starting center Jayce Johnson, who suffered an ankle injury in practice earlier in the week and was held out of the game. In Johnson's absence, senior Novak Topalovic earned the start. The senior had 4 points and seven rebounds to help outrebound the Trojans 32-23.
"Novak came in and gave us 32 great minutes when he hadn’t been playing much and had some sparks flying amongst the two Serbians," Krystkowiak said. "It was a good win for us.
"Jayce has grabbed a lion-share of our rebounds this season and I think everybody kind of took a little responsibility on themselves to fill in some of those gaps."
USC, too, was without freshman Kevin Porter Jr., who also suffered an ankle injury prior to the game.
Utah will close out the regular season against UCLA at the Huntsman Center on Saturday. The senior night game will tip off at 5 p.m. MST and will be broadcast on the Pac-12 Networks and ESPN 700.