Utah outlasts St. Mary’s in overtime, heads to NIT semifinals

utah outlasts St. Mary's-advances to nit semifinals

And then there was one.

Utah is the last Pac-12 team remaining in postseason play after defeating No. 1 seed St. Mary’s 67-58 in overtime Wednesday night in Moraga, Calif. The second-seeded Utes outscored the Gaels 13-4 in the fifth quarter (NIT experimental rules switched from halves to quarters) after Utah needed a 20-point fourth to send the game to overtime.

Sedrick Barefield took over in the extra period, canning three 3-pointers and accounting for nine of Utah’s 13 overtime points. His best was his last, a dagger of a stepback jumper that sealed the road win for the Utes.

Utah pulled away by playing tight defense and forcing St. Mary’s to go away from its dominant big man, Jock Landale (16 points, 15 rebounds), and instead shoot from deep. Problem for the Gaels was they simply didn’t make their shots in overtime.

Yes, Ryan, he did. The Utes, on the other hand, caught fire from deep in both the fourth and overtime, with Tyler Rawson’s clutch 3-pointer tying the game at 51 with 3:50 to play. A scoring drought ensued from there, with each team mustering just three points to end regulation knotted at 54.

But the Utes would find their 3-point oasis in overtime, thanks to the play of Barefield and Gabe Bealer, who also made a 3-pointer. Barefield led all scorers with 19 points (on 7-of-15 shooting) and 4 assists, while Rawson added 17 points and 7 rebounds. Justin Bibbins scored 10 points and dished out 3 assists.

The Utes will travel to New York City to face fourth-seeded Western Kentucky, which edged Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla., on Wednesday night and bounced USC from the NIT on Monday.

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