Cougars overcome Utah in final minutes for 61-58 win

(Photo by BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

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PROVO, Utah – After trailing the majority of the game, the BYU men’s basketball team captured a 61-58 win over the University of Utah in the final minutes of the Deseret First Duel Saturday at the Marriott Center. BYU, now 6-3 on the year, has won the Deseret First Duel trophy in men's basketball every year since the Duel began in 2007-08.

The Cougars took their first lead since early in the first half at 55-53 with 4:21 remaining in the game on a corner three by Craig Cusick. After a series of Utah free throws put the Utes back ahead by two, sophomore Tyler Haws completed a three-point play to push BYU back in front at 59-58 with 2:47 to play.

The Utes failed to convert with 26 seconds remaining and Josh Sharp secured the rebound for the Cougars. Utah sent Haws to the line where he hit both attempts to extend BYU’s lead to three, its largest of the night. With 16 seconds remaining, Utah failed on a three-point attempt to give the Cougars the 61-58 win.

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Coming off the bench for BYU, sophomore Matt Carlino led the Cougars with 19 points, five assists and three steals. Joining Carlino in double-figures were Haws and senior Brandon Davies, with 14 and 11 points, respectively. Haws pulled down six boards and went 10 for 10 at the line while Davies contributed six rebounds, three blocks and two steals. Josh Sharp led BYU in rebounds with nine.

Utah opened the scoring two minutes into the game and Davies quickly followed with a jump shot to tie the score at 2-all. The Utes answered with back-to-back baskets to take a 6-2 lead while BYU struggled from beyond the arc shooting 0 of 5. Craig Cusick sunk a trey after five minutes of play to break the trend and cut Utah's lead to 6-5.

Carlino gave the Cougars their first lead, 7-6, at 14:11 and then stripped the ball from Dallin Bachynski to set up a Haws jumper that tied the score at 9-all. After Sharp snuck in a basket off an in-bound pass, Utah and Carlino exchanged shots from beyond the arc to move the score to 22-17 in the Utes' favor with 6:30 remaining in the first half.

After two minutes of no points, Utah sunk a three-pointer to take a double-digit lead. With just under three minutes to play until halftime, the Utes hit a jumper to take their largest lead of the game at 31-19 with three minutes remaining in the half.

After a BYU bucket and series of free throws by Haws, Ian Harward tipped in a miss to cut Utah’s lead to six with 1:44 on the clock. Utah ended the half with a three-point play to enter the break with a 35-26 lead. The Cougars struggled from the field in the first half, shooting just 9 of 31 (29.0 percent) while the Utes hit 13 of 28 (46.4 percent).  

A perfect trip to the charity stripe and a bucket by Davies closed the gap to 36-30 to kick off the second half. Utah silenced BYU with five-straight points before Davies brought the Marriott Center to its feet with a dunk. Carlino kept the momentum with the Cougars on a breakaway layup for a 41-34 Utah lead with 15:44 on the clock.

An Anson Winder layup, assisted by Carlino with a downcourt pass, and two shots from the charity stripe from Haws cut Utah’s lead to three (43-40) with 13:09 remaining in the second. After falling behind by six, Carlino tied the game at 52 with back-to-back shots from beyond the arc with 4:45 to play. With under four minutes to go, Cusick contributed another trey to give BYU its first lead since the initial minutes of the game. The Cougars would go on to win the game 61-58.

BYU returns to action next Saturday, Dec. 15, at 7 p.m. MST at Weber State. The game will be televised live on BYUtv and broadcast live on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM.

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