Cougar Charge Falls Short Against Utes

Travis Hansen recorded his fourth double-double with a game-high 22 points and 11 rebounds.

SALT LAKE -- The BYU Cougars lost a hard-fought battle 71-66 to the University of Utah at the Huntsman Center in a game that lived up to all the tradition and emotion of their heated rivalry.

The loss is the Cougars' third straight, all of them on the road, and came despite leading the Utes in every shooting category and out-rebounding Utah 36-29.

"We lost because we dug ourselves into a hole and had to fight back the whole game," said BYU head coach Steve Cleveland. "In the bigger picture, I was significantly more pleased with the effort."

The Cougars (12-6, 2-3) doubled their first half output, scoring 44 points in the second half compared to 22 in the first.

That effort helped BYU pull within three, 67-64, after a Matt Montague layup with just under a minute remaining. Utah answered with four free throws while BYU did not score until another Montague layup as time expired, bringing the final score to 71-66. Montague finished the game with a season-high 13 points.

BYU was able to cool off the Utes' deadly three-point shooting with aggressive perimeter defense that held Utah to 4-of-18 from beyond the arc.

"We did a really solid job as far as taking away their perimeter game -- we defended well enough to win this game," Cleveland said.

Utah (15-3, 5-0) leads the nation in three-point field goal percentage but shot a dismal 22 percent for the game. Ute Nick Jacobson, who leads Utah with 15 points-per-game and has the nation's fourth-best three-point percentage, was made a non-factor by BYU's relentless defense. Jacobson scored only 5 points on 2-of-9 shooting.

On the Cougar offensive end of the court, Eric Nielsen provided BYU with the offensive spark it needed in the first half. Nielsen had eight of the Cougars' 15 points to give BYU a 15-13 edge with 10:25 remaining in the first half.

But Nielsen got into foul trouble early with three fouls in the first half and ultimately fouled out at the 8:36 mark of the second half with only 21 minutes of game time. He finished the game with 10 points on 5-of 7 shooting and has now scored in double figures in his last six starts.

Utah looked to the Johnson brothers, Jeff and Britton, to fill the void left by the Ute's absent perimeter. The duo combined for 13 of Utah's 21 points before the rest of the team got into the act, going on a 13-2 run to end the first half up 34-22. The 12-point deficit tied the Cougars' largest halftime gap set last week at Air Force.

The Utes extended their lead to 38-22 to open the second half before Travis Hansen stormed back with six points, two of them coming on an athletic fast-break spin move around Ute guard Travis Spivey.

Hansen led all scorers with 22 points and all rebounders with 11 on his way to his fourth double-double of the season. It also marked the fourth time this season Hansen has scored 20 points, but the first time since BYU played Pepperdine on Jan. 5.

"This is a good step in the right direction," said Hansen. "We knew what they wanted to do and I think we executed our game plan pretty well."

BYU freshman Jimmy Balderson made a three-pointer to make the score 46-35 and Hansen added two more with an emotional two-handed dunk that brought the Cougars within nine.

Montague later made a layup to bring the score to 53-46. During the following timeout, Montague and Spivy bumped into each other, igniting a heated discussion between the referees and both coaches.

"I don't know what happened, but I would stand behind Matt Montague no matter where we are," Cleveland said. "I told [referee] David Hall that there is no way Matt Montague would cheap shot anybody. I know Matt too well, he's a high-character young man."

Hansen scored seven more points but BYU still trailed 59-52 with 5:25 remaining. A Balderson steal and layup cut the lead to five and two Mark Bigelow free throws made the score 60-56 with 3:52 left in the game.

BYU shot 13-15 from the line to keep pace with their fourth place national free throw ranking. Daniel Bobik's free throw streak ended at 27, five shy of the BYU record. Bobik's back door layup made the score 66-62 and then 67-64 on Montague's layup, but it would not be enough.

The win gives the Utes a 116-115 edge in the all-time series record and becomes only the second time Utah has had the lead in the rivalry. The first time Utah took the lead in the series was in 2000 and they have now won eight straight at home against the Cougars.

Official Basketball Box Score -- GAME TOTALS -- FINAL STATISTICS

Brigham Young vs Utah

01/28/02 10:05 pm at Salt Lake City, Utah (Huntsman Center)

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VISITORS: Brigham Young 12-6, 2-3 MWC

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

03 BIGELOW, Mark....... f 1-5 0-1 2-2 1 3 4 1 4 3 2 0 0 36

25 NIELSEN, Eric....... f 5-7 0-1 0-0 1 2 3 5 10 1 5 1 0 21

52 JENSEN, Jared....... c 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 1 2 3 0 0 1 0 0 7

02 HANSEN, Travis...... g 6-17 2-3 8-8 5 6 11 2 22 0 3 0 2 38

31 MONTAGUE, Matt...... g 6-11 1-5 0-1 1 6 7 3 13 5 3 0 0 33

10 NASHIF, Terry....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1

20 BOBIK, Daniel....... 3-7 1-4 3-4 0 1 1 4 10 0 3 0 1 26

22 BALDERSON, Jimmy.... 2-6 1-2 0-0 1 1 2 5 5 0 0 0 1 16

32 JEPSEN, Bart........ 1-1 0-0 0-0 1 2 3 2 2 0 0 0 1 15

42 CARLISLE, Jon....... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 1 1 1 0 0 0 2 0 7

TEAM................ 1 1 2

Totals.............. 24-55 5-16 13-15 12 24 36 26 66 9 17 3 5 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 10-23 43.5% 2nd Half: 14-32 43.8% Game: 43.6% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 2-8 25.0% 2nd Half: 3-8 37.5% Game: 31.3% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 0-0 0.0% 2nd Half: 13-15 86.7% Game: 86.7% 0

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HOME TEAM: Utah 15-3, 5-0 MWC

TOT-FG 3-PT REBOUNDS

## Player Name FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF TP A TO BLK S MIN

31 JOHNSEN, Britton.... f 5-13 0-3 10-12 4 6 10 3 20 2 3 2 0 32

35 JOHNSEN, Jeff....... f 5-10 1-2 4-6 0 0 0 2 15 2 1 0 1 35

41 ALLRED, Lance....... c 1-2 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 0 9

11 SPIVEY, Travis...... g 4-5 0-1 7-8 0 3 3 2 15 2 4 1 3 34

15 JACOBSON, Nick...... g 2-9 1-5 0-0 0 2 2 0 5 1 1 0 1 37

03 OSIMANI, Martin..... 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 7

21 CATON, Trace........ 3-6 1-3 4-4 2 2 4 3 11 0 1 0 3 30

32 OSMUNDSON, Eric..... 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 2 2 3 0 1 0 0 0 9

40 CULLEN, Phil........ 1-4 1-4 0-0 0 3 3 3 3 0 1 0 0 7

TEAM................ 2 3 5

Totals.............. 21-50 4-18 25-31 8 21 29 16 71 9 11 3 8 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-30 43.3% 2nd Half: 8-20 40.0% Game: 42.0% DEADB

3-Pt. FG% 1st Half: 2-9 22.2% 2nd Half: 2-9 22.2% Game: 22.2% REBS

F Throw % 1st Half: 6-7 85.7% 2nd Half: 19-24 79.2% Game: 80.6% 3

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Officials: David Hall, Tom O'Neill, Mark Reischling

Technical fouls: Brigham Young-None. Utah-None.

Attendance: 14517

Score by Periods 1st 2nd Total

Brigham Young................. 22 44 - 66

Utah.......................... 34 37 - 71

Tags: Results