Three BYU Players Score In Double-Figures To Secure Rivalry Win Over Utah

Dec 12, 2020, 6:22 PM
BYU - Utah Basketball - Richard Harward...
Richard Harward led BYU in scoring with 15 points as the Cougars defeated the Utes 82-64. (BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)
(BYU Photo/Jaren Wilkey)

PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball defeated Utah in the 261st meeting between the two in-state rivals. The Cougars defeated the Utes 82-64 in a game that saw BYU shoot 55 percent from the field.

First Half

BYU inserted Kolby Lee back into the starting lineup for the first time since the Cougars lost to USC in Connecticut. The game started with back-and-forth play before Utah then jumped out to a 14-9 lead.

BYU closed went on a 5-0 run before the second media timeout to tie the game up at 14.

Then BYU started to create some separation. BYU had eight players score points in the first half, with six of them scoring at least four points.

BYU shot 59 percent from the field and 50 percent from beyond the arc, compared to Utah, who only shot 31 and 36 percent.

Connor Harding, who entered the game averaging only seven points per game, exceeded that mark in the first half, scoring eight points.

The big stage of the rivalry did not faze transfers Brandon Averette and Spencer Johnson playing in their first BYU/Utah game; they knocked down big three’s to help build a lead on the Utes, who entered the game with an undefeated record.

Second Half

Utah opened the second-period strong, trimming BYU’s 13-point lead down to eight at the first media timeout.

Then it became the Richard Harward show for BYU. Harward hit five of BYU’s next six field goals to get the Cougars back up by 10. Inbetween that stretch of play from Harward, he had an elbow that caught Utah forward Mikael Jantunen and knocked him down to the floor.

No flagrant was called on Harward as it was deemed a cylinder play. Jantunen exited and later returned with nasal bandages in his nose. Harward caught a black eye from the exchange. He ended up with 15 points in the win.

BYU continued to build on the momentum they had built from the spark given by Harward. The Cougars frontcourt featuring Matt Haarms and former Utah signee Caleb Lohner made life difficult for Utah’s offense to get going.

Last year, Rylan Jones scored a career-high 25 points against BYU in an overtime win at the Huntsman Center. This year was a different story as Jones was held to seven points.

BYU’s Spencer Johnson had a productive second half, building on his point total to end up with 16 points in the win.

Utah made a late push after the final media timeout to try and make things interesting. Still, BYU had another answer, and Caleb Lohner, who pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds, put down an exclamation point dunk to give BYU an 82-64 victory.

BYU’s Connor Harding led the Cougars in scoring with 17 points giving Mark Pope’s team a bounce-back victory over the Utes. Utah guard Alfonso Plummer led Larry Krystkowiak’s squad with a game-high 19 points.

BYU moves to 6-2 on the season and Utah drops to 2-1 on the year. The Cougars will be back in action next Friday when they travel to face nationally-ranked San Diego State in California.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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Three BYU Players Score In Double-Figures To Secure Rivalry Win Over Utah