Las Vegas • Utah basketball fans have seen Sedrick Barefield adjust on the fly and make a game-changing play before.
Thursday night, he couldn’t get the Utes the points they needed and it’ll probably sting for a while.
Oregon’s Kenny Wooten blocked Barefield’s reverse layup on the final play of the game to deal Utah a 68-66 loss in the quarterfinals of the Pac-12 Tournament in T-Mobile Arena, likely knocking the Utes into the NIT on a day that started with the team believing it could make a run to a tournament title and NCAA Tournament berth.
“I just didn’t make the right play,” Barefield said in the locker room after the game, alluding to seeing senior guard Justin Bibbins (team-high 20 points) flash open in the corner.
The Utes trailed by two with 9.7 seconds left when they inbounded under their own basket. Barefield took the ball the length of the court after the Ducks successfully denied Bibbins from receiving the inbounds pass.
Bibbins alertly switched to take over the role drawn up for Barefield. In his haste to get the ball upcourt and get a shot attempt, Barefield didn’t recognize the adjustment Bibbins had made.
“I wasn’t thinking that I was going to be initiating, so when Parker [Van Dyke] set the up-screen, I didn’t realize they were still going to be running the action on the backside,” Barefield said. “I saw space, and he just timed it well and Justin was open.”
While acknowledging Bibbins was open in the corner, Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak also defended Barefield.
“it’s the same way the game ended last night — Wooten blocked a shot at the end,” Krystkowiak said. “We discussed that. He blocks one shot in the game and it’s that shot, and we had an open guy. You know, that’s the one everybody wants to remember. There was a lot of plays before and in between that were just as key.”
The Utes led by 11 points with 9:57 remaining, but scored just 12 the rest of the game. The Ducks took a 65-64 lead on a pair of free throws when Utes senior forward Tyler Rawson fouled out with 1:14 remaining. Less than 15 seconds later, senior center David Collette fouled out after scoring 16 points on a badly sprained ankle.
“I want to see our best players playing against each other,” Krystkowiak said as he lamented NCAA’s five-foul limit. “They said well, we tried that back in the Big East 30 years ago. Well, that’s back when you were playing rugby and it was the Big East. You think that’s a good sample size? Figure it out.
“We’ve got human error referees. I’m not saying they made mistakes, but they’re put in a position where it’s difficult and the rules seemed a little different tonight at the end of the game.”