I’m so excited. I’ve never been to New York before, obviously never played in Madison Square Garden. Right now, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. So I’m super excited to be going.
MORAGA, Calif. — Utah senior David Collette has quite a week ahead. He’ll become a father for the first time when his wife, McElle, is induced on Friday.
That’s the really big news.
Then there’s the NIT and a trip to Madison Square Garden. The Utes earned a berth in next week’s semifinals with a 67-58 overtime win at Saint Mary’s on Wednesday. Collette played a big role early but wound up being sidelined for the second half and overtime when his back locked up. He finished with eight points.
“I’m so excited. I’ve never been to New York before, obviously never played in Madison Square Garden,” Collette said. “Right now, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for me. So I’m super excited to be going.”
BACK AGAIN: Four years and three days separated Utah’s NIT games against Saint Mary’s at McKeon Pavilion.
The only player to suit up for both contests is guard Parker Van Dyke. He was on the bench in 2014 when the Utes dropped a 70-58 decision to the Gaels in a first-round matchup.
Van Dyke then departed on an LDS Church mission to Alabama. Now a junior, Van Dyke saw action in Wednesday’s win over the Gaels.
However, nothing's changed in regards to the environment inside the cozy 3,500-seat arena.
“Definitely a smaller venue, but still a good atmosphere. They have a good fan base here and they fill it up,” said Van Dyke, who added that it’s a fun place to play. “It kind of reminds me of a high school atmosphere where the fans are right on top of you.”
EXTRA POINTS: Utah is the lone Pac-12 team still in postseason play . . . Jock Landale had 16 points and 15 rebounds for Saint Mary’s . . . The Utes stayed in a “bed and breakfast” house on the trip.