Jordan Loveridge scored 21 points in Utah's win on Saturday.
Dec. 14, 2013
The Utes (9-1) had lost 11 of their last 12 games in the rivalry series dating to 2006.
“I got choked up," head coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "It was powerful. That student section was something I've daydreamed about since seeing some of our football crowds. They're the heartbeat. Everyone who shows up. When you have a crowd like that it gives you something. I just want to thank everyone and if you liked the product, we welcome you back.”
Tyler Haws had 14 points to lead the Cougars (8-4) while Eric Mika chipped in 12 points and 10 rebounds and Kyle Collinsworth added 12 points and nine boards.
BYU could not get into an offensive rhythm in either half. The Cougars shot just 32.8 percent (21 of 64) from the field, 26.3 percent (5 of 19) from distance and 54.8 percent (17 of 31) from the free-throw line.
Utah set the tone offensively and defensively from the opening tip.
Loveridge's hot shooting helped Utah race to a huge lead. He hit 6-of-8 shots in the game's first seven minutes and the Ute defense shut down the Cougar offense completely through the first half.
“The atmosphere and the fans - I've been coming here since middle school and I’ve never seen that kind of support," Loveridge said. "It was a big boost right out of the gate.”
“It was a great lift to get Jordan going right from the jump," Krystkowiak said. "These Salt Lake kids, it means a lot to them. Parker Van Dyke stepped up and hit two 3's. Then Jordan, he beats me into work most days and he's shooting with his dad. I'm so happy for him because of the work he's put in when no one is looking. He was such a catalyst for us this evening.”
BYU just shot 31.4 percent (11 of 35) from the field in the first half and shot 41.7 percent (5 of 12) from the free-throw line.
Loveridge drained a pair of 3-pointers to help the Utes carve out a 10-2 lead. When BYU threatened to close the gap a few moments later, Loveridge found Dallin Bachynski for a pair of layups and sprinkled in three baskets of his own. His final basket in that sequence - a 3-pointer - pushed Utah's lead to 21-6 with 13:01 left before halftime. Bachynski finished with a season-high 11 points and eight rebounds.
"Dallin was big for us thonight," Krystkowiak said. "He was the one guy battling down there and brining energy when we sent four back on defense. He was able to get some big rebounds.”
Utah kept the gas pedal pressed down throughout the half. Three-pointers on three-straight possessions - including back-to-back baskets from reserve guard Parker Van Dyke- boosted the Utes' lead to 32-14 with 8:59 remaining.
BYU managed to trim the lead a little bit, twice cutting it to an 11-point margin. It happened the second time on a Mika jumper in the final minute, but Utah answered with a jumper from Wright that beat the buzzer to take a 42-29 halftime lead.
Momentum continued to favor Utah into the second half. The Utes opened by making baskets on three straight possessions, taking a 50-31 lead on a 3-pointer from Dakarai Tucker.
BYU made one last push to get back in the game and cut the lead to 51-38 after Mika made one of two free throws with 14:57 remaining. But Utah slammed the door shut on a comeback by ripping off a 7-0 run - culminating in a 3-pointer from Brandon Taylor- to take a 58-38 lead with 13:09 left.
The loss of Mika also hurt BYU's chances down the stretch. The freshman center was ejected after being called for a flagrant foul on Bachynski with 8:28 left in the game.
Utah is back in action on Thursday evening against Texas State. The Utes topped the Bobcats last season in San Marcos. Tip is scheduled for 7 p.m.