They simply couldn’t miss.
The Runnin’ Utes didn’t miss much of anything Monday night inside the Huntsman Center as Utah (21-11) easily took down LSU (18-15) with a 95-71 home victory in the second round of the National Invitational Tournament (NIT).
With the victory, the Utes will head to the NIT quarterfinals for the first time since 1992 and did so in style in front of Utah Jazz star guard and 2018 Slam Dunk Champion Donovan Mitchell.
Utah started the game on fire as the team finished the contest shooting nearly 58 percent from the field, including 14-of-29 from downtown.
Sedrick Barefield had a team-high 17 points as all five of Utah’s starters finished in double figures. Justin Bibbins added 16 points, hitting four 3-pointers, Gabe Bealer added 13 points, including three from beyond the arc and David Collette and Tyler Rawsom each chipped in with 12 points apiece.
Every time the LSU was on the verge of coming alive or going on a big run, the trio of Bibbins, Barefield and Bealer combined to hit 10-of-18 3-pointers.
— Utah Basketball (@UtahMBB) March 20, 2018
Freshman Tremont Waters had 19 points, eight assists and four steals for LSU (18-15). Skylar Mays added 16 points and senior Aaron Epps scored 12 in the loss for the Tigers.
Tigers’ seniors Aaron Epps, Randy Onwuasor and Duop Reath concluded their collegiate careers with 12, 10 and nine points respectively.
LSU, under first-year coach Will Wade, was attempting to win two games in the NIT for the first time since 1970.
With Saint Mary’s 85-81 win over Washington thanks to Jordan Ford’s 3-pointer with under a minute to go in the game, the Gaels won its its program-record 30th game of the season. The Runnin’ Utes will now travel to the Bay Area to take on the Gaels Wednesday night.
Here are some of the best reactions on Twitter from Monday’s game:
— University of Utah (@UUtah) March 20, 2018
— Joel Davidson (@JoelD247) March 20, 2018
So much good karma for the #RunninUtes tonight! kUUzmania representing the UU 🙌🏻 & @spidadmitchell supporting the U at the Hunty! No wonder the Utes offense was lit tonight!🔥🏀🔥 #GoUtes #NIT pic.twitter.com/lbR3NaCPtd
— NEZ👹 (@RedDevilUte_NEZ) March 20, 2018
— Dan Lalli (@DanLalli) March 20, 2018
— #VamosUtes (@COSam2) March 20, 2018
— Justin Williams (@UteColorado) March 20, 2018
— Dan Sorensen (@DSorensen) March 20, 2018