Barefield powers Utah past Cal, 82-64 for 4th straight win
BERKELEY, Calif. (AP) — Sedrick Barefield scored 21 points and Timmy Allen had 17 points and a career-high 12 rebounds to lead Utah past California, 82-64 for its fourth straight victory on Saturday.
The Utes (11-8, 5-2 Pac-12) made 11 three-pointers in the first half and never trailed after the opening four minutes. They return home next week having won three of their first four Pac-12 road games.
“I’ve said it a lot: I’m just really confident in the guys we have, especially when we’re playing assertive and aggressive and we’re defending,” Barefield said.
Barefield made five of 12 shots from 3-point range and is 14 for 28 from beyond the arc the past three games. Utah finished 13 for 31 from deep.
Both Gach added 18 points for the Utes, who survived 15 turnovers.
Justice Sueing, who led Cal with 20 points, said the Bears spent Friday focusing on defending the 3-pointer. Then Utah exploited them anyway.
“The first half we really put ourselves into a big hole. They made 11 3′s in the first half and just had the momentum going throughout the game,” Sueing said. “Us not being able to defend the 3-pointer really hurt us.”
Cal (5-15, 0-8) lost its ninth straight game and its 15th in a row in Pac-12 play.
Utah coach Larry Krystrkowiak said he purposefully avoided talking to his players about Cal’s record, even in terms of not overlooking the Bears.
“When you plant that seed, I think it’s problematic for young kids,” he said.
Cal doesn’t play again until Sunday against Stanford and coach Wyking Jones said he and his coaches will recruit early next week and let the players do individual workouts before returning to practice Thursday.
“We just need a break. We’re all competitors. We all have pride,” said Jones, whose team hasn’t won since Dec. 21. “This doesn’t feel good. So hit the reset button.”
Darius McNeill added 15 points for the Bears but point guard Paris Austin had a tough game, shooting 1 for 7 and scoring a season-low two points with four turnovers.
Utah led just 46-42 at halftime before using a 10-0 run, fueled by two 3-pointers from Barefield, to open a 58-44 lead margin with 15:28 left. Cal never got closer than eight points the rest of the game.
Utah: The Utes remain firmly in the Pac-12′s upper division. They have done it with improved defense. Utah has allowed just 67.6 points the past five games after surrendering an average of 85.3 the previous three games.
Cal: The Bears continue to struggle offensively, failing to top 65 points in their past five games after posting just 22 second-half points against Utah. They haven’t won a Pac-12 game since last Feb. 3.
FRIENDLY ROAD RIMS: Utah seems entirely at home in opposing arenas. The Utes made 11 of 21 shots from 3-point distance in the first half and are shooting 51 percent (49 for 96) from deep in their past four road games.
SUPER CONFLICT: Cal’s afternoon game against rival Stanford next Sunday will overlap slightly with the Super Bowl, featuring former Bears star quarterback Jared Goff of the Rams. Matt Bradley hopes Cal fans still will come to Haas.
“I feel like they’re going to come out and support us. Probably keep their iPhone on and watch the Super Bowl as well,” he said. “But I think they’re going to show love for both of us.”
Utah: The Utes return home to face Oregon on Thursday.
Cal: The Bears play rival Stanford at home next Sunday.