Jan. 10, 1998
PROVO, Utah (AP) - Michael Doleac responded when No. 3 Utah needed him most.
Doleac scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half Saturday night as No. 3 Utah remained unbeaten with a 71-61 victory over Brigham Young.
"Something wasn't there for us tonight early on," Doleac said. "They were fronting me and I was rushing everything. My shot wasn't being patient and letting the game come to me. Maybe I was too hyped up early on."
The 6-foot-11 center relaxed after halftime and scored seven points when Utah (13-0, 1-0 Western Athletic Conference) opened the second half with an 18-0 run.
"I thought in the first half we matched up well," said BYU coach Steve Cleveland. To open the second half, "they hit perimeter shots which made us go back man-to-man. That let Doleac go off."
David Jackson's free throw with 7:42 remaining gave the Utes a 49-30 lead, but Brigham Young (5-10, 0-1) refused to let their arch rivals leave the Marriott Center so easily.
Ron Selleaze scored nine of his 26 points in a 24-12 burst that brought the Cougars within 61-54 with 55 seconds to play.
However, after Justin Weidauer's 3-pointer cut the Utes' lead to seven, Utah closed out the game by making eight straight free throws.
Andre Miller added 11 points for Utah and Hanno Mottola and Trace Caton had 10 each.
Weidauer had 14 points for BYU and Mekeli Wesley added 11.
Doleac had nine rebounds as Utah dominated the boards, outrebounding BYU 41-27.
Despite holding BYU to just three free throws over an 11-minute span, a cold-shooting Utah led just 23-20 at halftime.
The Utes led 21-8 on Alex Jensen's free throw with 4:33 remaining in the opening half, but Weidauer hit a short jumper with 4:17 left to spark a 10-0 BYU run.
Selleaze dunked off Brian Hamilton's steal to finish the Cougars' spurt.
Both teams struggled from the floor. After its horrendous start, BYU was shooting just 31.8 percent at halftime, while Utah managed just 31 percent.
Utah shot 55 percent over the final 20 minutes and finished at 40.8 percent. BYU shot 41.4 percent in the second half and 37.3 percent overall.