Johnson’s double-double not enough in No. 14 BYU's setback to Utah

Spencer Johnson’s first career double-double wasn’t enough for No. 14 BYU as the Cougars fell 73-69 to Utah on Saturday evening in front of a sold out crowd at Jon M. Huntsman Center

Spencer Johnson drives to the basket against Utah.Spencer Johnson drives to the basket against Utah.

SALT LAKE CITY — Spencer Johnson’s first career double-double wasn’t enough for No. 14 BYU as the Cougars fell 73-69 to Utah on Saturday evening in front of a sold out crowd at Jon M. Huntsman Center.

“Congratulations to Utah. They played tough and with a ton of intensity, it’s a terrific win for them,” BYU head coach Mark Pope said. “I am proud of my guys in the parts of the game where we could find the space to be us. I have more confidence than ever that we have a chance to grow into a really good team.”

BYU trailed by as much as 16 in the second half but had a chance to win it down the stretch as it saw their three-game win streak over the Utes come to an end. 

Johnson finished with 10 points to go along with a career-high 11 rebounds, five of those coming on the offensive glass. Jaxson Robinson scored a team-high 17 points, going 7-of-13 from the floor and 3-of-8 from 3-point range as he has now scored in double figures in four straight games.

The Cougars shot a season-low 36.6 percent from the floor, 23.3 percent from three and 55.6 percent from the free throw line, with the Utes shooting 49.1 percent from the floor, 30.8 percent from 3-point range and 69.2 percent from the charity stripe.

BYU finished with 42 rebounds, 28 of those coming in the second half, including 13 offensive rebounds. The Cougars also had 13 assists to only eight turnovers and a block.

First Half

BYU trailed in the opening minutes, 12-3, as the Utes hit five of their eight shots, including a pair of 3-pointers. It would see the deficit grow to as high as 12 before Spencer Johnson scored four straight points for the Cougars.

Richie Saunders kept the Cougars within striking distance as the sophomore went 1-of-2 from the free throw line, followed by a putback off a miss making it 20-12 at the under 12-minute media timeout.

The Cougars continued to keep their head above water with Robinson scoring five straight points including the first of his three 3-pointers to make it 22-17. The teams continued to trade baskets until the following the under-four minute timeout when the Utes went on a 6-0 run with four of those points coming from the free throw line.

Robinson scored the Cougars' final points of the first half with a layup, giving him 10 points in the opening 20 minutes for a third straight game.

The Cougars shot 36.4 percent from the floor with the Utes shooting 56.7 percent including 6-of-15 from 3-point range.

Second Half
Dallin Hall scored the opening five points for the Cougar including a pull-up 3-pointer in front of the Cougar bench.

The lead continued to hover in double digits until the 13:50 when Saunders's layup made it 56-48. Following Rollie Worster’s layup at 12:54, BYU held the Utes without a basket for the next 7:59 cutting the deficit three, 59-56.

Trey Stewart scored his only points of the game on an offensive putback followed by a tough, contested layup from Robinson on the next possession down the court. Lawson Lovering went 1-of-2 from the free throw line that was followed by another back cut from Hall that resulted in a layup. Another Robinson layup made it 59-56 with another layup before Worster ended the shooting drought with another layup.

Robinson connected on his third and final 3-pointer of the game at 4:38 from the wing to make it 61-59 but missed the free throw. The Utes responded and pushed the lead to seven points with 1:01 remaining in the game on a Gabe Madsen 3-pointer. Aly Khalifa went 2-of-3 from the charity stripe on the next time down the court with the Cougars, with BYU stealing the inbound pass resulting in a 3-pointer from Richie Saunders. A defensive stop gave the Cougars a chance in the final seconds but they were unable to take the lead since the opening two minutes of the first half.

BYU returns home for a season-long five-game homestand on Wednesday, Dec. 13, when the Cougars host Denver. The game will tip-off at 7 p.m. and be streamed on Big 12 Now on ESPN+ or tune-in for live play-by-play on BYU Radio Sirius XM 143, Radio app or KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM.

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