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Men's Basketball Finishes Season in NIT Second Round

Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Kent Lowe (@LSUkent)
Communications Sr. Associate

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Utes scored 30 first quarter points, hitting 12-of-17 field goals that propelled the Utes to a 95-71 win over LSU in the second round of the National Invitation Tournament at the Jon Huntsman Center Monday night.

Utah, 20-11, will meet the winner of the St. Mary’s-Washington game on Wednesday night for the right to go to the NIT semifinals in New York City.

LSU concludes its first season under Coach Will Wade with an 18-15 record as he became the second rookie coach at LSU to take a team to post-season play in school history.

Tremont Waters, the freshman point guard, had 19 points, eight assists and four steals as he finished the season with 198 assists, the second most assists in a single season in LSU history.

Also in double figures were Skylar Mays, who made four treys in scoring 16 points off the bench; senior Aaron Epps in his final game had 12 and graduate student Randy Onwuasor concluded his career with 10 points. Senior Duop Reath had nine points.

All five starters for the Utes were in double figures as the quintet combined for 12-of-their-14 three-pointers. Sedrick Barfield had 17 points, Justin Bibbins 16 (5 assists), Gabe Bealer 13 and Tyler Rawson and David Collette each had 12 (Rawson 5 also 5 assists).

For the game, Utah shot 33-of-57 from the field for 57.9 percent and 14-of-27 from the arc for 51.9%. The Utes were 15-of-20 from the charity stripe. LSU shot 26-of-59 from the floor (44.1%) and 8-of-30 from the arc (26.7%). LSU was 11-of-16 from the free throw line.

The Tigers were in the game early, down 7-5 after a Waters’ three, and 11-7 after a Reath layup with 6:39 to go in the opening 10-minute quarter. But from there the Utah offense was able to get to the LSU defense and the LSU offense had no response.

A jump shot and back-to-back layups pushed the lead to 10 and out of an LSU timeout, the Tigers turned the ball over and Utah got a dunk to make it 19-7. Waters hit a jump shot to make it 19-9 and Utah in the final four minutes proceeded to outscore LSU, 11-2, to go up 30-11 at the end of one.

The Utes upped the margin to 27 points, 45-18, with 4:08 to go in the first half, but the Utes were held without a field goal and only two free throws the rest of the way while LSU came with an 8-0 run that featured two treys by Mays and two free throws by Waters.

The run was actually 10 points as Waters got a steal and score to cut the game to 47-32 with 9:24 to go in the third quarter, but LSU wasn’t able to cut the margin down any more and trailed after three, 72-51. The game’s biggest lead came at the 5:07 mark of the fourth quarter on a free throw that gave Utah a 30-point, 88-58, lead.

LSU’s other senior, walk-on Reed Vial, played the final two minutes and missed a three-point attempt.

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