BYU defeated in-state rival Utah State at the Vivint Smart Home Arena on Saturday, Dec. 14. This Beehive Classic game marks the eighth consecutive win against the Aggies over the last six years.
Utah State held an impressive 10-1 record coming into the matchup before the Cougars handed the Aggies their second loss of the season.
“Utah State is a great team,” head coach Mark Pope said. “I couldn’t be more proud of our guys for fighting the whole time and getting through some adversity and some stickiness and some weirdness and just staying together and getting away.”
The blue-versus-blue in-state rivalry game began with an aggressive start as the tip-off concluded with a personal foul against Utah State, only to be followed by a BYU turnover.
Utah State would be the first team to put points on the board, which would be the only two points scored within the first two minutes. The Cougars struck next with a 3-point shot from Jake Toolson and a pair of shots from beyond the arc by TJ Haws.
Haws then weaved his way around the Utah State defense before finding Kolby Lee who scored his first basket of the night. BYU led the game at 11-4 five minutes into the game.
Utah State began to fight back and steadily climbed onto the board — not even a Yoeli Child’s dunk seemed to intimidate the Aggie team as they came within 1 point at 17-16.
After a free throw and 3-pointer, Utah State gained the advantage at 20-17 with 8:49 to play in the first half. Haws answered back with a 3-pointer of his own.
An impressive assist by Dalton Nixon allowed Connor Harding to sneak in a 3-pointer, making the score 23-22. BYU took control of the game before the close of the half with a 9-0 run.
BYU led 35-28 at halftime with Haws adding 13 points, two assists and one steal. Harding was the second-highest scorer for the Cougars with six points and two defensive rebounds.
Yoeli Childs erupted in the second half, scoring 11 points within five minutes. Although the Aggies knocked down some shots of their own, the Cougars stayed in the lead 50-44.
Childs said the momentum switch he seemed to have with Haws showed the team’s special talent. He said the Cougars always be a player on the court that demands respect from the opposing team.
With 12 minutes remaining, Utah State had overcome the BYU lead, and the game was tied for the second time at 50-50.
After more scoring, both teams went dry. Two scoreless minutes were broken by a Zac Seljaas 3-pointer, which helped the Cougars regain momentum. The Aggies followed closely behind, and with 3:43 on the clock, the score held tight at 60-58.
Scoring remained competitive, and with 90 seconds to play, BYU held a 1-point lead at 65-64.
BYU took control of the ball on a defensive rebound and took it down the court where Alex Barcello hit a big 3-point shot, pushing BYU forward 68-64 with 25 seconds left in the game. BYU’s defense held the Aggies at bay as the clock expired.
“I didn’t start off the game too hot. (The team) picked me up, and they told me to just trust it, Barcello said. “So I just shot the shot knowing that my teammates believed in me and it went in and luckily we won the game and we’re so happy for it.”
Childs led the game with a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double, and Haws added 16 points and five assists.
The Cougars will next play at home in the Marriott Center on Saturday, Dec. 21. BYU will play the Weber State Wildcats at 7 p.m. MST and the game will be broadcasted on BYUtv, BYU Radio, BYU Sports Network and KSL 102.7.