BYU Falls to USU in Opener

(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

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LOGAN, Utah – In the first game of the 2011-12 season, the BYU men’s basketball team lost to in-state rival Utah State 69-62 Friday night on the road at the Spectrum.

Senior Noah Hartsock led BYU with 18 points, five rebounds and four assists. Senior Charles Abouo and junior Brandon Davies also scored in double figures, with 16 and 13 points, respectively.

The Cougars shot 46.8% (22-47) from the field but hit just 3-14 (21.4%) from three-point range and 15-22 (68.2%) from the free throw line. The BYU bench struggled to score throughout the game, shooting 2 of 7 and scoring six total points. BYU also picked up 26 team fouls in the game, 13 per half, and had six players with at least three fouls.

BYU took the first lead of the game when Abouo hit a quick three before the Aggies responded and tied the game at 4-4. The lead changed six times over the following 11 minutes before Utah State went up 16-15 and held the lead for the remainder of the half.

The Cougars struggled from deep range in the first half, missing six straight threes following Abouo’s opening make. BYU finished the half 2-8 from beyond the arc but shot 11 of 22 from the field.

BYU also struggled with fouls early, as the team racked up 13 in the half and four players had two apiece. Hartsock led BYU in the first half with eight points while Abouo and Stephen Rogers contributed seven each. With the combined 22 points from the three forwards, BYU went into the locker room trailing the Aggies 30-28.

Hartsock led BYU out of the locker room with four quick points that helped BYU take their first lead since the 9:48 mark in the first half. The Aggies responded with a 5-0 run to retake the lead before BYU went back up 42-38.

After the Cougars stretched the lead to four, Utah State went on the biggest run of the game, an 11-0 stretch that lasted from the 10:38 mark until Davies broke it up with 6:02 remaining. The Aggies then went on another short 6-0 run to build up the biggest lead of the game at 55-44 at the 4:06 mark.

The Aggies maintained the lead for the remainder of the game, as BYU never managed to cut it from 11 to 5 with under one minute to go but couldn't get any closer.

The 62 points scored by BYU marks the lowest total for the Cougars since San Diego State topped BYU 64-62 on March 13, 2009 in the Mountain West tournament.

BYU returns to the Marriott Center for the home-opener against BYU-Hawaii on Tuesday at 7:00 p.m. MST. The game can be heard on KSL Radio and will be broadcast live on BYUtv.