New York • Lower than a minute left and the Utes’ 5-foot-Eight senior level guard, Justin Bibbins, dribbled fearlessly into the paint on a possession that held the potential to vary the sport drastically.
As has been his behavior this season, the smallest participant on the ground made an enormous play. Bibbins obtained swarmed by a sea of our bodies seemingly twice his dimension, however in some way nonetheless discovered a strategy to move the ball out to Tyler Rawson on the wing.
Rawson made the go-ahead Three-pointer to offer the Utah the lead with 38 seconds remaining, and 14 seconds later Bibbins drew a cost to seal the 69-64 win and this system’s first NIT championship recreation look since 1974.
Bibbins, who performed all 40 minutes, didn’t rating within the first quarter and nonetheless notched a team-high 19 factors (he went 12 of 12 on free throws) and took management of the sport within the second half together with his decision-making.
“Late within the recreation, I simply, , was making an attempt to make a play,” Bibbins stated. “Coaches have been telling me after I drove within the paint, individuals have been open on the surface. I appeared out and Ty was large open, and I simply tried to make the best play. I used to be completely satisfied he knocked it down.”
With Utes turnovers fueling Western Kentucky for a big portion of the sport — the Utes shot 18 fewer photographs than their opponents, partially on account of 13 turnovers — Bibbins virtually willed the Utes to victory within the fourth quarter. He scored or assisted on 14 of the group’s 18 fourth-quarter factors, and all eight of his factors got here on the free-throw line. The Utes made solely two discipline objectives within the fourth quarter, and each have been Three-pointers by Rawson off of feeds from Bibbins.
“We put Bibbs in these positions to make the best play, whether or not it’s to shoot it or discover the open man,” Rawson stated. “He had 4 or 5 guys on him there on the final play. It was an excellent job of him discovering it.”