Senior guard Justin Bibbins knocked down five 3-pointers en route to scoring 23 points as Utah recorded an 83-74 victory over Mississippi on Monday in the opening round of the MGM Resorts Main Event in Las Vegas.
Senior forward David Collette and freshman forward Donnie Tillman added 13 points apiece for the Utes (4-0). Junior guard Sedrick Barefield had 12 points for Utah, which will meet UNLV on Wednesday in the championship game.
Senior guard Deandre Burnett scored 21 points for Ole Miss (3-1) while making 5 of 6 3-point attempts. Junior guard Terence Davis and sophomore guard Breein Tyree added 10 points apiece for the Rebels, who will face Rice in the consolation game on Wednesday.
Bibbins made two 3-pointers and scored eight points in the final four minutes as the Utes held on after the Rebels pulled within two points.
Utah created some distance earlier in the second half when Collette made consecutive baskets to start a 9-0 run that provided a 51-41 advantage with 15:19 remaining. A 3-pointer by Bibbins a short time later made it an 11-point margin, but the Rebels moved within 54-48 on a basket by freshman guard Devontae Shuler with 13:40 to play.
Ole Miss kept the pressure on, and Burnett’s 3-pointer cut Utah’s lead to 62-59 with 8:42 left. The Utes responded with a 7-2 run to take an eight-point lead on Tillman’s three-point play with 5:57 remaining before the Rebels used an 8-2 surge capped by Shuler’s three-point play to get within 71-69 with 4:20 to go.
The Utes led by seven in the opening minutes but Ole Miss eventually moved ahead 19-18 courtesy of a 7-0 run. The Rebels held a 32-31 advantage with under four minutes left before junior guard Parker Van Dyke drained a go-ahead 3-pointer as Utah closed the half strong to take a 40-37 lead into the break.