Sedrick Barefield scored 18 points and Donnie Tillman added 15 points to lead Utah to a 75-61 win over Maine on Thursday night.
The Utes (1-0) prevailed after shooting 49 percent from the field and finishing with 42-26 advantage on the glass.
Isaiah White scored 24 points and Terion Moss added 13 to lead the Black Bears. Maine trailed wire-to-wire after shooting just 40 percent from the field.
Hot shooting from the perimeter gave Utah’s offense an extra boost early in the first half. The Utes built a quick double-digit lead after making their first seven shots and starting 9-of-10 from the field overall. Included in that run of baskets were six 3-pointers.
After White turned a steal into a fastbreak dunk to cut Utah’s lead to 14-8, the Utes started pulling away. Barefield drained back-to-back 3-pointers and then Vante Hendrix followed with two more baskets on consecutive possessions a minute later. Hendrix’s second basket — a 3-pointer he knocked down after stealing the ball — gave Utah a 25-10 lead with 12:13 remaining before halftime.
Maine cut the deficit to 10 points twice before halftime. The Black Bears could not trim it further to single digits.
Utah continued to build on its cushion. Timmy Allen drove for a layup and then fed Riley Batten to set up another on the next possession to give Utah a 45-28 lead going into the locker room.
The Utes stepped off the gas pedal in the second half. They endured a nine-minute drought without a field goal that opened the door for Maine to hang around. The Black Bears cut the deficit to 60-51 on a 3-pointer from Moss with 6:09 left.
Barefield finally ended the drought with a jumper. Utah eventually pulled away down the stretch with four straight baskets, culminating in a Parker Van Dyke 3-pointer, to take a 71-57 lead with 2:44 remaining.
—Field Level Media