SALT LAKE CITY
– Utah senior Sedrick Barefield
scored a season-high 33 points and sophomore Donnie Tillman
registered his first double-double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds, but the Utah Runnin' Utes (6-6) came up short to the No. 6-ranked Nevada Wolf Pack (13-0), falling 86-71 Saturday afternoon at the Huntsman Center.
Neither team lit up the scoreboard to open the game as Utah (0-of-3) and Nevada (1-of-6) combined to make just one of the first nine attempts. Nevada opened with a 4-0 lead and later, following a 10-2 run, pushed its lead to five up 23-18.
Barefield, who scored a first-half career-high 19 points, pulled the Utes back with Utah's next 10 points and gave the home squad a 28-26 lead. Both teams would trade buckets down the stretch, but Nevada took a 38-37 lead into the break despite not making a field goal over the last 3:59 of the period.
Nevada opened the second half scoring 13 of the period's first 15 points to take a 51-40 lead. Barefield stopped the run with a three-pointer – his season-high fifth of the game – but, it was just one of two field goals the Utes would make over the first six and a half minutes of the second half.
Utah later pulled back within four points, down 53-49 following a 6-0 run with just a little over 13 minutes to play, but the Wolf Pack scored seven straight points to push the lead back to 11 points, up 60-49.
Utah's offense would go cold and Nevada would later push its lead up to as many as 17 points with less than seven minutes to play, up 73-56. Utah followed with a 9-4 run to get it back to within single digits, but Nevada's Caleb Martin was too much on the way to scoring a career-high 33 points and leading the Wolf Pack to the 15-point win.
Utah is officially finished with non-conference play and will head into Pac-12 Conference play next, hitting the road for the desert to take on both Arizona squads. The Utes will open league play against Arizona State next Thursday, Jan. 3, and will then close out the week against Arizona on Saturday, Jan. 5.
• Utah dropped to 5-1 at home on the season, snapping an eight-game winning streak at the Huntsman Center that dated back to last season.
• Barefield was a perfect 5-of-5 from the field, which included a 3-of-3 effort from downtown in the first half. He was 6-of-7 from the charity stripe to give him 19 points, the most points he has scored in any half in his career.
• Tillman finished the game with 13 point and 10 rebounds to register his first double-double of the season and the third of his career. It is the first double-double for the sophomore since Nov. 22 of last season when he scored 14 points and pulled down 11 boards against UNLV.
Utah vs. #6 Nevada | December 29, 2018
Utah Head Coach Larry Krystkowiak
On playing the zone…
"When they can score 20 points out in transition, it no longer becomes a story about the zone. IT doesn't make a difference what defense you're in when it's a lot of 2 on 1 and 3 on 2's going the other way. I thought we were lackadaisical at the start of the second half, I don't know if we watch too many NBA games, but that's one the area's that's on me as a coach. But I thought we fueled their fire to start the second half by turning the ball over."
On Sedrick Barefield's big night…
"It was a great line, scoring wise. Percentages, took some big shots, had some hands in his face, but if you look at his assist line, it was 0 and he had five turnovers. I'm not beating the guy up because he was a bright spot for us, but the turnovers can be super costly."
On what went wrong in the second half…
"Well a guy could get fined if he really starts diving into stuff here. It's a combination of things, it wasn't a perfect game for anyone. There were other issues that played into the game."
Nevada Head Coach Eric Musselman
On the quick start to begin the second half…
I think that number one we have just been historically a great second half team and it's not just this game. It has been every game second half. They get to go in the locker room, they get to regroup, and there's few adjustments. I thought our spacing was bad in the first half. We might have settled for too many threes again early in the game. Trying to get to the bonus early in the game was a big part of what we wanted to do in the second half.
On coming back from the sluggish start in the first half…
I don't think it was a bad start. We are playing on the road against a really well coached team that plays really hard. We go into the locker room up one. It is really hard to open up a game in the first 20 minutes and I thought as the game progressed, our defensive energy started to increase especially right around that 13-minute mark. I thought defensively we turned it up a notch. We tried to trap a little bit more, denied some passes, got a five-second baseline out, a defensive thing that kind of sparked us.
On Caleb Martin's game…
I thought he did a good job defensively because when Cody Martin got into foul trouble we ended up putting Caleb on Barefield and I thought he did a better second half than what we did in the first half. Obviously, Barefield got whatever he wanted in the first half, but I thought the second half at least his baskets we made him work for it a little more.