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Utah Basketball Hands No. 14 BYU Cougars First Loss Of Season

Dec 9, 2023, 7:15 PM | Updated: Dec 11, 2023, 12:06 pm

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Utes men’s basketball team fought off a late comeback to defeat the No. 14 BYU Cougars in the Huntsman Center.

After leading by 14 at halftime, Utah pulled out a narrow four-point victory.

Gabe Madsen led the way for Utah with 17 points and five made threes. BYU’s leading scorer,  Jaxson Robinson, also had 17.

First Half

After BYU responded and took their first lead of the game, the Utes rattled off a 10-0 run.

Gabe Madsen made two threes to put Utah up 12-3.

The Utes took a double-digit lead after five minutes off of a three from Bajema.

The Cougars began closing the lead but Madsen’s hot shooting kept the Utes out in front.

Ten minutes through the first half, Utah led by seven, 22-15.

Just as BYU started creeping closer, Branden Carlson threw down back-to-back dunks to put momentum back on Utah’s side.

BYU’s bench unit kept them in the game in the first half. 12 of the Cougars’ first 19 points came from players off the bench.

After a small run led by Trevin Knell, BYU closed the Utah lead to five.

Utah’s Ben Carlson and Keba Keita extended the lead to nine with free throws and a quick bucket.

Utah reopened a double-digit lead but it was shortlived as Jaxson Robinson drained a three-pointer.

The Utes and Cougars began trading baskets as halftime approached.

Another Keita dunk was followed by a Richie Saunders three. Utah showed that they have range too as Hunter Erickson splashed a three as he was fouled.

The four-point play put Utah up by 11, 40-29.

Back-to-back makes from Carlson gave the Utes their largest lead of the game at 14.

Utah would hold onto this lead going into the break, 45-31.

Second Half

BYU closed the Utah lead to single digits with a 9-2 run.

Lovering continued to make his impact as he found Carlson who knocked down a jumper.

Madsen continued his great performance as he nailed a three to put Utah up by 12.

He made four of his first six attempts from deep.

It felt like every time BYU knocked some points off the Utes’ lead, Utah came back with a stop and a make of their own.

With ten minutes left in regulation, Utah led by eight, 58-50.

The Cougars closed the lead to six leading up to the next timeout.

After Rollie Worster stopped the bleeding with a layup, BYU guard Jaxson Robinson made a right-wing three and was fouled.

He couldn’t convert the four-point play and Utah retained a two-point lead.

Erickson slid around the defense and got a layup to go through contact following the timeout.

BYU cut the lead to six with a 1/2 result at the free-throw line.

After a great stop, Utah began wasting time with the ball.

However, they settled for a deep, contested three with five seconds on the shot clock.

It continued to get sloppy for the Utes. They fouled on a three-point attempt the next time down.

The Cougars closed the lead to four with 1:26 left.

Madsen found the bottom of the net on a stepback three to put the Utes up seven with a minute left.

Back on defense, the Utes fouled on another three. Aly Khalifa stepped up to the line and made all three.

BYU then forced a turnover in the backcourt and found Saunders who made his second three-pointer.

Utah led by two, 71-69, with 40 seconds left.

Utah couldn’t score but they wasted 30 seconds.

BYU had a chance to tie the game or win with 10 seconds left.

The Cougars couldn’t hold onto the ball and a save attempt went right into the hands of the Utes.

Worster stepped up to the line where he knocked down both and sealed the game, 73-69.

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Chandler Holt is a co-host for the Jazz Notes podcast and a Digital Sports Producer for KSLSports.com, specializing in all things basketball and football. Follow Chandler on Twitter @ChandlerHoltKSL or on Threads @chandlerho1t.

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