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Utah slips by Western Kentucky 69-64 to reach NIT title game

March 28, 2018

NEW YORK (AP) — Justin Bibbins scored 19 points and Utah beat Western Kentucky 69-64 on Tuesday night in the semifinals of the National Invitation Tournament at Madison Square Garden.

Sedrick Barefield added 14 points for the Utes (23-11), who advanced to the NIT championship game for the third time. They will play Thursday night against the winner of the second semifinal between Penn State and Mississippi State.

David Collette added 13 points and seven rebounds for Utah. Tyler Rawson scored 12, including a 3-pointer that put the Utes ahead to stay with 38.1 seconds left.

Justin Johnson had 24 points for Western Kentucky (27-11). Lamonte Bearden added 12 and Dwight Coleby scored 10.

Back and forth throughout, the game wasn’t decided until the final seconds. Utah took a 66-64 lead when Rawson hit a 3 from the right side to snap an 0-for-7 shooting slump for the Utes, who went 8:23 without a field goal.

On the ensuing possession, Bibbins drew a charge against Bearden and knocked down two free throws.

Bibbins made all 12 free throws he attempted. He finished 3 for 8 from the field.

Utah reached the NIT title game for the first time since losing to Purdue in 1974.

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