LOGAN, Utah (ABC4 Sports) – Alex Barcello scored 23 points as BYU improved to 5-1 on the season, gutting out a 67-64 victory over Utah State in the Aggies home opener.
Tied at 64 with just under a minute to play, Conner Harding hit his only three-pointer of the night to give the Cougars the lead for good.
Utah State rallied from a 10-point halftime deficit, but freshman Rollie Worster missed a game-tying free throw with 12 seconds to play.
A pair of free throws by Alex Barcello gave the Cougars (5-1) their 67-64 lead with seven seconds left, but the game was not sealed until Worster’s potential game-tying 3-pointer came up short.
“Every time you come to Logan, it is an adventure beyond adventures,” said BYU head coach Mark Pope. “The outcome is always 100 percent uncertain, unless they end up running you out of the gym. What an unbelievable performance by their team.”
The Aggies (1-3) played without head coach Craig Smith, who tested positive for COVID-19.
“I’m really proud of our second-half effort, I thought our guys really fought,” said Utah State assistant coach Eric Peterson. “At the end of the day, our first half just wasn’t good enough. In the locker room afterward, we talked about how there’s such a small margin for error when you play really good teams.”
Worster had 15 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists. Neemias Queta had 18 points and 8 rebounds to lead Utah State, while Marco Anthony added 17 points.
Freshman Caleb Lohner was the only other BYU player in double figures besides Barcello, finishing with 11 points and 6 rebounds.
With the scored tied at 60, Utah State had several chances to regain the lead, but the Aggies missed a pair of free throws and a pair of 3-pointers within a span of a minute. BYU led 61-60 after Matt Haarms went 1-for-2 at the free throw line, and again, USU had a chance to move back in front after Queta was fouled.
Queta made the first, but missed the second, leaving the score tied at 61-apiece, setting up the wild final minute of play.
Utah State shot just 35.6 percent from the field (21-of-59), including just 15.4 percent from 3-point range (2-of-13), and 69.0 percent from the charity stripe (20-of-29).
The Cougars shot 40.0 percent for the game (22-of-55), including 36.4 percent from beyond the arc (8-of-22), and 78.9 percent from the free throw line (15-of-19).
Matt Haarms finished with 8 points and 4 blocks for BYU, while Harding ended up with 7 points.
BYU next hosts Boise State on Wednesday, while Utah State welcomes in College of Idaho on Tuesday.