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Silas Walker, KSL

Utah uses 11 first-half threes to claim 92-81 win over visiting UCLA, No. 3 seed

By Josh Furlong, | Updated - Mar. 9, 2019 at 9:08 p.m. | Posted - Mar. 9, 2019 at 7:13 p.m.

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SALT LAKE CITY — In their final game at the Huntsman Center, seniors Sedrick Barefield and Parker Van Dyke were the stars of the night — a perfect ending to their careers at the University of Utah.

Barefield finished with 29 points, and Van Dyke with 12 points, as Utah claimed a vital 92-81 win over the visiting UCLA Bruins Saturday to claim the No. 3 seed in the Pac-12 Tournament next week in Las Vegas.

The seniors hit a combined nine 3-pointers on a night when the team tied the program’s single game record of 17 made 3-pointers. Barefield had five 3-pointers and Van Dyke had four to lead a Utah team that had six players make at least one 3-pointer in the win on 45 percent shooting from deep.

“We took care of business and did what we needed to do,” Utah head coach Larry Krystkowiak said of his team’s performance. “It’s a proud day for our seniors.”

Utah (17-13, 11-7) came out with the hot hand to open up the game and hit 11 first-half 3-pointers to eventually take a 27-point lead over UCLA (16-15, 9-9), a team that failed to hit from deep in the first half. The Bruins eventually sank their first 3-pointer of the game in the first minute of the second half amid a run that cut Utah’s lead to 11 points.

The Bruins continued to fight the remainder of the second half, and cut the lead to as low as 8 points as Utah’s defense eased up and shots from deep didn’t come as easily. But Barefield and Van Dyke hit late 3-pointers to stave off the run as Utah claimed the sweep over the Los Angeles schools for the season.

Utah’s Timmy Allen added 17 points and four rebounds, and Donnie Tillman added 14 points, including four 3-pointers, and five rebounds, to round out players scoring in double figures. The two each picked up four fouls early in the second half, which allowed UCLA to take advantage of a weakened defense.

The Bruins, fighting for a better seeding in the conference tournament, were led by Kris Wilkes’ 20 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Wilkes managed nine made free throws in the second half and a 3-pointer to help cut into Utah’s lead. UCLA had five players in double figures with Jules Bernard's and David Singleton’s 13 points and Jalen Hill's and Alex Olesinski’s 12 points.

UCLA outscored the Utes in the second half 50-41 while shooting 53.3 percent from the field in that same time period. Utah shot only 38.9 percent from the field in the second half after their hot start to the game.

The Utes played relatively error-free on their final night of the regular season, finishing the game with an uncharacteristic five turnovers. They also had 16 assists to complement their several 3-point buckets.

Utah Utes head coach Larry Krystkowiak stands with Utah Utes guard Parker Van Dyke (5), Utah Utes guard Sedrick Barefield (2), Utah Utes guard Beau Rydalch (25) and Utah Utes forward Novak Topalovic (13) during the senior night presentations after the Utah Utes beat the UCLA Bruins at the Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, March 9, 2019. (Photo: Silas Walker, KSL)

Utah was again without Jayce Johnson who was out of the game with an injury to his ankle earlier this week. In his absence, Novak Topalovic got the start. But it was third-string backup Brandon Morley who provided big minutes for Utah, adding 8 points and nine rebounds in 17 minutes of play.

With the win Saturday, Utah earned a first-round bye in the conference tournament in Las Vegas next week. The Utes will play Thursday at 9:30 p.m. MDT on ESPN and will await their opponent, the winner of the No. 6-No. 11 game, that squares up Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. MDT.

Josh Furlong

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