SALT LAKE CITY — Sure, there was basketball and a lot of it.
However, Utah’s annual “Night With the Utes” was lit up by the debut of a new center-hung scoreboard and video display in the Huntsman Center. In addition, the arena also sports four new large video boards in the corners and two under the main scoreboard.
“This is a big-time facility. That changes the feel,” said Utah women’s coach Lynne Roberts. “I thought it was the nicest arena in the Pac-12 but now this is like a pro arena. It’s incredible.”
Tuesday’s event was headlined by two 16-minute scrimmages by the men’s team. For the record, the White team defeated the Red squad 69-54 when combining the two mini-games. The rosters were juggled around for the second one.
Sedrick Barefield and Jayce Johnson led all scorers with 17 points apiece. Parker Van Dyke finished with 15, while David Collette added 13.
“It was fun. It was a good night,” said Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak. “This was our first time being in the Huntsman. They just finished the scoreboard today.”
Like Roberts, Krystkowiak noted that the new technology has enhanced the arena.
“I was pleased for the most part. We shot the ball and didn’t seem out of whack when the first time the popcorn starting popping,” Krystkowiak added. “A lot of these guys have never been in here period, the guys on our team. So we made good strides.”
The Utes did particularly well shooting. They combined to make 17 of 37 shots from 3-point range and 16 of 19 from the free throw line.
“I think we looked good. We definitely have to get used to playing in here because we’ve been practicing upstairs for a while,” Barefield said. “But we shared the ball. We had a really good focus on the defensive end. So we’re just going to go back and watch film and just try to get better.” Overall, though, Barefield called it a “good outing” for the Utes.
Between halves, the Utah women’s team scrimmaged for about five minutes.
“I think we’re coming along,” said Roberts, who noted there were some nerves and jitters in the team’s first Huntsman Center visit of the season.
DUNK CONTEST: Redshirt freshman Chris Seeley prevailed in a pre-scrimmage dunk contest. The forward topped teammates Barefield, Tyler Rawson, Beau Rydalch and Donnie Tillman for the title.
3-POINT COMPETITION: The women’s team defeated the men in two 3-point shooting competitions to 42. The battles took place just before the second men’s mini-scrimmage was played.
EXTRA STUFF: The event began with player introductions for both the men’s and women’s teams. A sparse crowd was on hand for the annual event. The men return to action Nov. 1 for an exhibition game against Montana Tech. The women face Carroll College on Nov. 2.