Runnin’ Utes offense needs work in win to Tulsa

The Utes shoot 42% in victory.

It didn’t look pretty heading into halftime. The Runnin’ Utes had 5.6 seconds. The inbound pass caromed away from Sedrick Barefield for Utah’s sixth turnover in 20 minutes – 23-17 at the break. That’s when the NBA scout left. But, Larry Krystkowiak and company did enough 69-64 over Tulsa Saturday at the Jon M. Huntsman Center.

The irons were worked. Tulsa missed its first 18 three-point attempts (5-30 overall). The first make came seven minutes into the second half. Frank Haith’s Golden Hurricane operated as far as Sterling Taplin could take them. The Tulsa guard finished with 12 points and three assists.

Coach K said postgame the offensive inefficiency was like taking the game to the pre-shot clock era.

Offensive rhythm? Not for long stretches. The only one to come close was Barefield who clinched it late – despite dealing with illness during the week. The senior scored all of his 15 points in the second half. His first dagger came off a Gach creation in transition to hit a pull up three to extend the lead to 57-47 with 4:20 to go. He created an and-one with 49 seconds remaining.

With a December date coming with BYU, Kentucky, and Nevada, Utah’s offense will need to come alive to keep its flickering non-conference hopes alive.

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