Cougars Fall in OT at Utah State

BYU was a finger-roll away from ending the nation's fourth-longest home court winning streak before falling to Utah State in overtime Saturday, 90-81.

With regulation time about to expire, BYU's Daniel Bobik spun into the lane with a nice move to get off a five-foot underhanded scoop shot but it rolled off the rim. With Mark Bigelow out of the game with five fouls, guard Travis Hansen scored all six BYU points in the extra period but the Aggies tallied 15 overtime points thanks to some great rebounding and free throw shooting. Utah State dominated the boards to get more possessions and converted 11 free throws and two field goals in the extra five minutes.

"Their effort on the boards is what hurt us," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "They also shot well from the line. Pinegar gave them a great lift outside. We knew he was good inside."

Junior college transfer Desmond Penigar scored a game-high 34 points, many on long jumpers, including two threes, and went a perfect 10-10 from the line for the Aggies. He also pulled down a game-high nine rebounds as Utah State finished the night with 35 boards to BYU's 24. The Aggies also grabbed 14 of their own misses on the offensive glass. This is the first time this year BYU has been out rebounded by an opponent.

"We played with great heart and had two chances to win at the end," Cleveland said. "This is the best execution we have had all year."

Hansen led BYU with a career-high 26 points and five rebounds. He made 10-of-15 shots from the floor, including a 3-of-5 effort from three-point range. He extended his string of consecutive free throws made to 13 before missing one of his four attempts against the Aggies. Bigelow added 21 points but played only 28 of the 45 minutes, fouling out with two minutes remaining in regulation time.

"It kills me to be on the bench, but I have faith in my teammates," Bigelow commented. "I made some good shots but I need to do more in scoring, and I need to do much better on defense and on the boards."

Bigelow, who finished with two rebounds, both on the offensive end, made his third three-pointer of the game with 2:10 remaining in regulation to bring BYU within three at 73-70. Fouling out shortly thereafter, Bigelow sat on the bench as Bobik hit his third trey of the game to even the score at 73. After Hansen converted two free throws with less than a minute to go to put BYU up 75-73, the Cougars tried to get a defensive stop but Utah State's Tony Brown drove baseline and hit Brennan Ray inside for the game-tying bucket.

Bobik nearly gave the Cougars the win with his spinning shot in the lane. Bobik scored 13 points off the bench in 25 minutes and Eric Nielsen added 14 points to round out BYU's double-digit scorers. Matt Montague had a season-high 10 assists along with two points while playing a career-high 42 minutes. Backup point guard Shawn Opunui played three first half minutes with one assist before suffering a badly jammed thumb.

Brown scored 20 points for Utah State, going a perfect 8-of-8 from the line, while Ronnie Ross contributed 11 points and Chad Evans 10 as four Aggies reached double figures. Both teams shot well from the line. BYU shot 84.2 percent, making 16-of-19 free throws, but the Aggies took 11 more attempts while converting on 28-of-30 free tosses for an impressive 93.3 success rate.

BYU shot 48.3 percent from the floor, including 9-of-20 threes, while the Aggies made field goals at a 50.9 percent clip and went 6-of-13 from long range. The win extended Utah State's home winning streak to 25 games, the fourth-longest streak in the nation. BYU was the last team to win in Logan on Jan. 8, 2000.

BYU is now 2-2 on the year after losing two closely contested road games this week at UC Santa Barbara and Utah State. The Aggies, 4-0 this season, ended a string of three consecutive Cougar wins in the series, which is BYU's oldest rivalry dating back to 1905. Overall, BYU holds the advantage with a 132-86 record against the Aggies.