Coach Larry Krystkowiak, Utah – Opening Statement: “I think that’s the epitome of sports right there. We got knocked to the mat last night and it was really disappointing. It can go one of two ways and one of the great things about tournaments like this is you get a chance to see what you are made of. I think we played as hard as we’ve played all year. We really played connected basketball, we shared the ball, we made some big shots. It was a lot of fun and winning was good medicine. That’s a good Grand Canyon team and I told Dan Majerle they can win their league. They have a lot of positive things happening there and it’s a good win for us.”
On switching to zone defense: “That was our defensive coordinator Andy Hill, he’s the coach of the game. I’m not sure what he saw in that situation but with 9:22 left he said to switch to a zone. We had a hard time guarding them in the post, we kept sending them to the foul line and we thought that zone would maybe take them out of that punch process. I thought we did a nice job. It was a big change in the complexion of the game. Sometimes it takes a different pitch and got them out of their rhythm a little bit.”
Forward Donnie Tillman, Utah – On bouncing back from defeat to Hawai’i: “To hear from coach is always good but the leaders of the team like Sedrick (Barefield) and Charles Jones, he got player of the game, he told us to talk, communicate, be energetic and have fun. I took that to heart and I took it on myself to just be yelling every possession even if it was nonsense it will get us going, especially defensively. Coach talks about blue zones and red zones and defensively we’re in the blue zone too much. We have to be aggressive.”
Coach Dan Majerle, Grand Canyon – (On his team’s performance): “We’re just disappointed. We came out a little flat for whatever reason we couldn’t shoot it. Defensively we were really bad. Utah was good and we did a bad job so we dug ourselves a hole so we decided to starter working a little harder, guard a little better and we fought our way back into it. But, Utah played well. [Sedrick] Barefield had a heck of a game, he made a lot of nice shots especially at the end of the buzzer on a lot of them. I give all the credit to Utah, they bounced back from a tough game last night so they came out to play.”
(On Sedrick Barefield’s play): “Just his poise. We knew he was a good player. He can attack, he can get to the basket, pull up, shoot jump shots. It just seems like some backcourt guy is going to have a nice game against us every night. The other night it was [Myles] Powell who had 40. That’s what we have a hard time guarding right now and he [Barefield] is the guy that hurt us tonight. He’s a good player and we knew that coming in and he took advantage of us.”
(On how his team can expand their offense): “Well, it’s not going to help us if the rest of our offense doesn’t shoot well. Right now our offense is “Throw it to Ale[ssandro] and hope he gets hot, pop him one for a three-pointer and hope he makes a few” We’ve got to have guys who can shoot a little bit better, who can penetrate and kick. Alessandro is a terrific player he has been all of last year and he’s starting to play better now so it’s good for him. But, we have to get guys around him to support him because he’s going to start getting double-teamed and we can’t rely on him to have good nights every night.”
- Utah scored the game’s first six points and never trailed (nor was the game ever tied), giving Utah a wire-to-wire victory (the second straight such game in this Wooden Legacy).
- Utah scored 14 straight points to extend the lead to 24-8 (its biggest of the game)… Grand Canyon would come back in the second half to pull within one point at 48-47… The 14 unanswered points is to this point the longest such streak in this year’s Wooden Legacy by any team.
- Utah now leads the all-time series against Grand Canyon 3-0.
- Utah is playing in its fourth ESPN event (5-6 record in those).
- Utah shot 50% FG tonight (24-48 FG), and the Utes are now 71-11 (87%) since the start of the 2012-13 season when making 50% or more of its shots.
- Sedrick Barefield rebounded from his consecutive games of four points with a 26-point effort, with 18 of those coming after halftime… That tied for his second highest scoring performance in his career, and seventh time eclipsing 20 points (Utah 2-5 in those).
- Donnie Tillman scored 14 points, and the Utes moved to 11-4 when he scores 10+ points.
- Freshman Riley Battin had his second straight double-figure scoring game, netting 10 points off the bench.
- Freshman Both Gach also had his second straight double-figure scoring game, scoring 10 points in his first collegiate start.
Grand Canyon (3-3)
- Grand Canyon is playing in its first ESPN event (0-2 record in those).
- Grand Canyon was held to a season low 66 points, 16 below its average… Since the start of last season the Lopes are 2-9 when being held to 66 or fewer points.
- Alessandro Lever scored 16 points, and has now scored at least 10 points in 12 of his last 13 games.
- For the second time this season, Tim Finke has outscored his older brother Michael… The freshman Tim recorded his first double-digit scoring game with 14 points, while getting his first start alongside his older brother.
- Trey Drechsel scored 10 points, and has scored in double figures in four of his six collegiate games.