Utah was able to grind out a tough win over Western Kentucky, 69-64.
The 1st quarter was mostly Western Kentucky, as the Hilltoppers jumped out to an 18-5 lead, thanks in part to 10 points by Justin Johnson. However, Utah was able to end the quarter on a 6-1 run, trailing 19-11 going into the 2nd quarter.
Utah picked up their offense in the 2nd quarter, scoring 21 points, and limited WKU to 13, putting the halftime score at 32 a piece.
The 3rd quarter was back and forth as well, as neither team was able to take control of the game. Both scored well, as the game was tied at 51 going into the final 10 minutes of play.
The 4th quarter once again followed the pattern, as neither team could take control for more than a minute at a time. Utah was then able to draw two huge charges and a big three from Tyler Rawson in the final minutes of the game to propel them to victory.
Playing well for the Hilltoppers were Justin Johnson (22 points, 8 rebounds) and Lamonte Bearden (12 points).
Standouts for the winning Utah Utes were Tyler Rawson (9 points, 7 rebounds), Sedrick Barefield (13 points), and David Collette (11 points, 6 rebounds).
Utah will face off against the winner of Penn State and Mississippi State on Thursday in the NIT Championship Game.