PROVO, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – The rivalry losing streak is over.
Elijah Bryant scored a season-high 29 points as BYU beat rival Utah 77-65 on Saturday night in the 258th meeting between the teams located 37 miles apart.
BYU has won 12 of the last 16 meetings and broke a three-game losing streak to the Utes.
The Cougars (9-2) controlled the game throughout and never trailed after taking a 10-9 lead. Utah hung around but was never able to put together a significant run. The Utes (7-3) never got any closer than five points in the second half.
“The difference was probably the 3-point line,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “That was interesting because they were one of the best defensive 3-point teams in the country. We were pretty patient. Let’s make them guard us a little bit and then when we get one, lets shoot one that we know is (a good shot).”
Yoeli Childs finished with 15 points and five rebounds for BYU.
Tyler Rawson had 15 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists while Gabe Bealer added 13 points for Utah.
BYU dominated the first half and led by as many as 13 points after back-to-back 3-pointers from Bryant. The Cougars shot 5 for 10 from 3-point range, and 55.6 percent from the field, in the first 20 minutes. Utah opponents had shot just 26.3 percent from behind the arc before Saturday.
The game was put away with an 8-2 run, highlighted by a Payton Dastrup triple, to take a 63-50 lead.
While the Utes struggled defensively as Bryant and Childs combined for 25 first-half points, things weren’t much better on the offensive end.
“It could be anyone’s night every night,” Bryant said. “It was just my night tonight. Guys were finding me and I was hot. In our system, it can be anybody’s night every night.”
Utah was without freshman Donnie Tillman its top rebounder and second leading scorer, who was at the game wearing a boot on his left foot. The Cougars defended with energy, but the Utes missed a lot of shots and finished with a 44.4 shooting percentage for the half. They were 2 for 12 from behind the arc before halftime and finished with a 22.7 3-point percentage.
“Coming into an environment like this against a quality team, it’s pretty simple,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “You’ve got to be a lot more dialed in, you’ve got to make more plays, and it’s not an easy environment to overcome, but we’ve got too many self-inflicted gunshot wounds with charging into people, putting our head down and trying to do it independently. We don’t have a team that can do it independently. We’ve got to do it collectively and we’ve got a ways to go.”