That was a great team win. We scrapped and it wasn’t always perfect. It says a lot about our team to be able to rally and pull out a W in overtime. —Utah guard Sedrick Barefield
TEMPE, Ariz. — Their leading scorer and senior leader had already fouled out. Their second-leading scorer and other senior leader had hardly played all night because of foul trouble. Somehow, though the Utah basketball team came through with a hard-fought 80-77 overtime win over 21st-ranked Arizona State Thursday night at Wells Fargo Arena.
“Our guys scrapped from the beginning and played really, really hard,” said a happy Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak. “Our zone was good and we shared the basketball. We made plenty of mistakes along the way, but we hung in there and fought. It was a classic college basketball game and it was a shame somebody had to lose.”
The final score, 80-77, was the exact same score by which Arizona State had beaten the Utes just 2½ weeks ago at the Huntsman Center. But this game was much better with seven lead changes and 10 ties as the two teams battled back and forth all night.
Sedrick Barefield, who came up big in the second half with all 17 of his points, including the game-tying 3-pointer with three seconds left in regulation, also called it a scrappy win.
“That was a great team win,” he said. “We scrapped and it wasn’t always perfect. It says a lot about our team to be able to rally and pull out a W in overtime. That’s the spirit of our team. One man down, one man up. We have a group that stays confident.”
The Utes didn’t have Justin Bibbins for the final minute of regulation and the overtime and were only able to use senior David Collette for 13 minutes all night.
However, sophomore Jayce Johnson came up with perhaps his best career game, scoring a career-best 15 points and coming up with three blocked shots, including one on ASU’s leading scorer Tra Holder with seven seconds left in overtime.
“It was just going out there and playing my game and having fun,” said Johnson. As for the block, he said, “They asked me who blocked it and I couldn’t even remember because I was so into the game. But I guess I did.”
Early on, the Utes trailed 19-12 and looked to be on their way to a similar defeat to the two they suffered in Southern California two weeks ago. But behind the spark of Johnson, the Utes went on a 25-8 run to go up by eight and went into halftime up 40-33. Johnson scored 11 points in the first half, including nine in a five-minute stretch when the Utes took the lead.
Utah started off the second half 1 for 9, including seven 3-pointers, and still led 43-38 at the first media timeout. Then ASU went on a 13-0 run as Utah didn’t score in more than four minutes, and it looked like the Sun Devils were on their way, up 60-55.
But the Utes wouldn’t say die and came back to tie the game and go ahead 66-64 with 1:06. That’s when Bibbins fouled out trying to get the ball along the baseline under ASU’s basket and Barefield replaced him. Krystkowiak told him, “Go win us the game,” and Barefield came through.
After the Sun Devils had taken a 69-66 lead on Shannon Evans’ layup with nine seconds left, Barefield came down and coolly sank a 3-pointer from the right angle at the three-second mark to send the game into overtime.
Then in the overtime, the Utes hit their first four shots, a drive by Barefield, a 3-pointer by Rawson, a 10-footer by Collette and a 3-pointer by Barefield from the left angle. That gave the Utes a three-point lead at 79-76, but after an ASU free throw, the Utes turned the ball over three straight times without getting off a shot.
In the final crazy sequence, the Sun Devils missed two 3-pointers before Holder was blocked by Johnson and Barefield came up with the rebound. He made one of two free throws with three seconds left for the final margin.
Tyler Rawson and Bibbins each scored 15 for Utah, and Johnson and Donnie Tillman had eight points and seven rebounds.
Holder led ASU with 23 points, Evans had 14 and Kodi Justice and De’Quon Lake each scored 10.
"The guys fought hard and battled. It wasn't easy out there,” said ASU coach Bobby Hurley. “We weren't able to get any stops for a while in the first half, and that hurt. But our team deserves some credit. They kept after it when things weren't going their way."