San Francisco holds off Utah 89-86 in Diamond Head Classic
HONOLULU (AP) — It didn’t take first-year San Francisco coach Kyle Smith very long to notch a signature win.
Led by Ronnie Boyce’s 19-point effort off the bench, San Francisco held off Utah 89-86 in a quarterfinal game of the Diamond Head Classic Thursday night.
The Dons (9-2) recorded their first win over the Utes (7-3) since Dec. 11, 1976, and improved to 4-7 all-time in the series. In the preseason, San Francisco was picked by the West Coast Conference coaches to finish ninth out of 10 teams.
“We’ve been playing well, but we’ve had a pretty favorable schedule so far and this was the best team we’ve played, so for sure it was a great win,” Smith said. “I think this is a good confidence boost for our program to know that we’re able to compete with a team from the Pac-12.”
USF did it with hot shooting from the perimeter. It shot 57.1 percent (16 of 28) on 3-pointers and 52.5 percent (31 of 59) from the field. Seven different players hit a 3-pointer — Remu Raitanen made 4 of 5, Boyce 3 of 4 and Chase Foster 3 of 5.
“Our issues were inability to defend the 3-point line,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “They hit some tough shots and earned a lot of those makes. I’d say half of them were things we talked about all week that we had to avoid.”
Boyce shot 6 of 13 from the field and scored 12 of his points after halftime to lead the Dons, who also got 12 apiece from Foster and Raitanen.
Utah got off to a hot shooting start, but trailed USF at halftime 38-35.
The Dons led by 15 following a step-back 3-pointer by Boyce with 13:11 left to play. However, Utah got to within 88-86 after Lorenzo Bonham drained a pair of free throws with 39 seconds remaining.
The Utes got the ball back with a chance to tie or go ahead with 9.1 seconds, but USF’s Matt McCarthy drew a charging call on Sedrick Barefield and Frankie Ferrari made the second of two free throws with 1.6 seconds left to stretch it to 89-86.
Jojo Zamora’s desperation shot from near half court was well short as time expired.
Barefield came off the bench to score 25 of his game-high 35 points after halftime and David Collette added 18 to pace the Utes (7-3).
The teams combined for 44 turnovers.
San Francisco: The Dons tied the Diamond Head Classic tournament record with 16 made 3-pointers. They tied the mark set by BYU against New Mexico in last season’s tournament.
Utah: Junior forward Kyle Kuzma went down with an apparent lower leg injury less than a minute into the game and did not return. He was not seen on the bench after halftime. Kuzma had a string of five consecutive double-doubles broken. The 6-foot-9, 225-pound Flint, Michigan, native entered the contest averaging team highs of 16 points and 11.3 rebounds.
“It’ll be a trip to get X-rays and hopefully no breaks,” Krystkowiak said. “It didn’t look good and he was in an awful lot of pain. It wouldn’t strike me as something we’ll see him bounce back from.”
STAT OF THE GAME
On the same night it tied the tournament record for made 3-pointers, USF also tied a six-year old record with 23 turnovers in a game. The Dons matched Hawaii’s 23 turnovers against Florida State in the 2010 edition of the Diamond Head Classic.
About midway through the first half, Collette, a 6-for-10, 230-pound forward, led a fast break before dishing to Barefield, whose layup gave the Utes a 22-19 lead. It was Collette’s lone assist of the night.
San Francisco, which has now won five of its last six games, advanced to Friday’s semifinal round and will face the winner of Thursday’s late quarterfinal between Illinois State and Hawaii.
Utah, which had won three of its last four games entering Thursday, will face the Illinois State-Hawaii loser in a consolation game Friday.