It wasn’t a buzzer-beater shot like last season’s game that caused BYU to beat its in-state opponent Utah State. This year the BYU men’s basketball team enjoyed a 85-74 victory in the EnergySolutions Arena against the Aggies.
The final score may indicate an easy win for the Cougars. Think again. At the end of the first half Utah State was shooting more accurately and outplaying the Cougars enough to give it a five-point advantage going into the second half.
“I just thought that we needed some guys to attack on offense,” said BYU basketball coach Dave Rose. “I really felt like the end of that first half we got a little bit stagnant in our offense, and then they kind of diced us up a little bit and got a lead. So we felt going into that second half if we get some guys to really attack them, it might change the pace of the game. Frank did a great job, played a great game (and) a terrific second half.”
Frank Bartley finished with 14 points and five rebounds, helping the Cougars on an 11-2 run during a critical time of the game. Tyler Haws finished with a game-high 21 points, and Kyle Collinsworth added seven points, eight assists and a season-high 13 rebounds.
“Frank came in and he played great, and so we kept the small lineup,” Collinsworth said. “We just fueled off Frank because he played an awesome game.”
Matt Carlino added 18 points, and Eric Mika finished with 15 points and nine rebounds. Skyler Halford played well to give the Cougars an additional eight points during 13 minutes of play.
“These guys are fighters, and that second half, it came down to what I feel are two really good basketball teams just trying to figure out how to get a win,” Rose said. “We made a couple more plays. I think Stew’s going to have a terrific year. He’s got a great team with good leadership and great experience. I like his bench, and I really like his roster.”
Collinsworth got the second half started with a block followed by some free throws from Carlino. Later Carlino would toss an alley-oop to Mika for the dunk to cut BYU’s deficit 43-44. With 17:34 remaining in the game, Mika made a layup to put the Cougars up by one. Around the 11-minute mark BYU was up 58-55 with 11:07 left in the game and wouldn’t let the Aggies catch up again.
“Kyle is the difference in the game, as far as our stats are concerned,” Rose said. “The matchups where he was able to guard inside, we could switch some of the ball screens. He was just a warrior tonight.”
Aggies head coach Stew Morrill made an error in the second half when he tried to call a time out he didn’t have. Calling a time out when the Aggies didn’t have any allowed Haws to shoot two shots from the free-throw line as a penalty. This gave the Cougars a 78-66 lead with 3:39 minutes remaining.
In the end, the Cougars outscored the Aggies in the paint 54-38 and capitalized on Aggie turnovers, scoring 19 points off turnovers to the Aggies’ six. BYU also led in fast break points, outscoring USU 20-0, and kept USU to a 35.3 shooting percentage in the second half.
The Cougars will return to the Marriott Center to play North Texas on Tuesday, Dec. 3, at 7 p.m. MST. The game will be televised live on BYUtv and broadcast on the Cougar IMG Sports Network on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM.