Utah secured itself a spot in the NIT semifinals on Wednesday night, beating VCU 74-54 at the Huntsman Center on Wednesday night in the tournament’s quarterfinals.

3 takeaways

Top performers: Utah’s top trio all had excellent games.

Deivon Smith secured his fifth triple-double of the season and second straight with 15 points, 12 assists and 11 rebounds, while adding four steals.

Branden Carlson, in his final game in the Huntsman Center (for real this time), had 17 points, three 3-pointers, three rebounds and three assists.

Gabe Madsen hit six 3-pointers — he’s made 13 in the past two games — and scored a team-high 18 points.

Former Utah State star Sean Bairstow led the Rams with 13 points and four rebounds.

Key stretch: Utah never trailed in the game after getting out to an 18-2 lead. The Utes made 7 of 11 field goals to start the game, and that included four 3-pointers.

While VCU closed within as little as three points after that, Utah never lost its lead.

The Utes began the second half on an 11-2 run to push their lead to 19.

3-point shooting and assists: Utah made 13 of 33 3-pointers, including 7 of 16 in the first half. VCU, meanwhile, hit 5 of 26 from long range.

The Utes also finished with 21 assists on 28 made field goals. It was their third straight game in NIT play with 20-plus assists.

What’s next?

With the win, the Runnin’ Utes (22-14) advance to the NIT semifinals, where they’ll play Indiana State next Tuesday at the Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.

The Sycamores beat Cincinnati 85-81 in the NIT quarterfinals on Tuesday to advance.

The other NIT semifinal will match up Georgia against Seton Hall.