SALT LAKE CITY – In a low scoring battle, the BYU men’s basketball team topped the Utah Utes 61-42 Saturday in a Deseret First Duel contest that gave the Cougars their sixth straight win over their in-state rivals.
Senior Noah Hartsock led the Cougars with 19 points and seven rebounds. Hartsock has now scored in double figures in every game this season. He also recorded four blocks for the third time this year and helped BYU hold the Utes to 14-52 (26.9%) shooting for the game.
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Both teams struggled offensively to start the game. BYU scored just one point in the opening five minutes and trailed 5-1 early on. The Cougars took the lead at 8-5 with 12:12 remaining despite hitting just one of their first nine shots. Utah started the game 2 of 11 shooting.
BYU was able to maintain the lead thanks to threes from freshman Nate Austin and junior Stephen Rogers, but poor shooting continued to plague both teams. The Cougars finished the half shooting 7 of 26 (26.9%) while Utah hit just 4 of 22 (18.2%) from the field.
Junior Brock Zylstra hit two threes in the final minutes of the half to give BYU a 25-17 lead heading into the locker room. The eight-point difference was the largest for either team in the first 20 minutes.
Utah scored five quick points to start the second half before BYU went on a 10-0 run to give the Cougars a 36-22 lead. BYU hit four of its first six shots to open the half and Cusick and Hartsock each nailed a trey to give the Cougars a 14-point advantage.
Hartsock continued to hit shots and scored 14 of BYU’s first 19 second half points. Abouo got involved with just under five minutes to play when he scored his first seven points of the game on three-consecutive makes.
The Cougars shot 12 of 23 while Utah hit 10 of their 30 shots in the second half. The BYU win gives the Cougars a 16-10 lead in the Deseret Duel, and the women’s basketball teams face off later Saturday afternoon with three points on the line. BYU has won the team trophy in the Duel five years running.
BYU will have a week off due to finals but will face off against No. 6 Baylor next Saturday at the Marriott Center. Tipoff is scheduled for 12 p.m. MST and the game will be broadcast live on BYUtv and KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.