SALT LAKE CITY (Feb. 26, 2005) -- Despite a fast start, BYU lost an early lead and the game to in-state rival Utah, 69-60, Saturday in the Huntsman Center.
The loss drops the Cougars to 9-19, 3-10 in Mountain West Conference play, while the No. 12 Utes improve to 24-4 and 12-1 in the MWC.
"Our aggression level was good. We competed," BYU coach Steve Cleveland said. "A coach can't be upset with this kind of effort."
BYU came out scrappy and very aggressive, taking an early 20-9 lead, while holding Utah to a 1-for-10 shooting start. Foul shots kept the Utes in the game early. Utah had 16 first half foul shots compared to BYU's two.
Foul shooting helped propel a Ute 20-9 run to end the first half. Over the final 2:21 of the first half, Utah scored the last seven points to tie the Cougars at the half, 29-29.
Associate head coach Dave Rose was encouraged with the way the Cougars came out after their demoralizing loss at Air Force.
"The guys were able to bounce back, and had a good week in practice," he said. "It's just a shame we weren't able to take advantage of that early lead."
Utah pulled away in the second half, going on a 21-9 in the first eight minutes of the second half to stretch the lead to 50-38. The Cougars put together a small run to cut the Utes' lead to five, 56-51. Utah was able to overcome the late surge to win the game by nine.
Rose credits Utah for its ability to execute in the second half.
"You have to give a lot of credit to Utah for their patience and execution in their half-court offense in the second half," Rose said.
Austin Ainge led the way for the Cougars with 17 points in the losing cause. Walk-on Brock Reichner had a career-high 9 points on 3-for-3 shooting, including 2-for-2 from three-point range.
Bogut led the Utes with 26 points. Justin Hawkins added 21.
The Cougars conclude regular-season play Saturday, March 5, in a home contest against UNLV. Game time will be at 7 p.m.