SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 Sports) – BYU should probably think about playing all of its home games at the home of the Utah Jazz.
The Cougars made it 15 straight wins at Vivint Arena, holding off Utah State in a thrilling game, 68-64.
With the Cougars trailing by one point, Alex Barcello hit a three-pointer with under 30 seconds left to seal it for BYU.
“I didn’t start off the game too hot, but I love my guys and I love my team,” Barcello said. “They pick me up and they knew that my shots were eventually going to fall.”
Yoeli Childs scored 16 of his 20 points in the second half, while TJ Haws scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half, as the Cougars beat the Aggies for the sixth straight time.
“There are no agendas on this team, which is crazy,” Childs said. “There are almost no teams in the country like that. There are no agendas. Everybody is going to give up the ball for the extra play.”
The Cougars (9-4) never trailed in the second half and Childs made back-to-back baskets to make it 46-37 early in the second. Utah State scored eight consecutive points to tie it at 50-all with 12:30 to play and Justin Bean made two layups 27 seconds apart to trim the Aggies’ deficit to 63-62 with 2:15 remaining. Barcello hit a jumper 17 seconds later. Neemias Queta made two free throws for Utah State with 1:42 left and neither team scored again until Barcello hit a 3 to make it 68-64 with 27 seconds to go.
Alphonso Anderson led Utah State (10-2) with 14 points and Abel Porter scored 13. Anderson and Porter combined to make 11 of 18 (61%) while the rest of the Aggies shot 29.7% (11 of 37). Sam Merrill and Queta added 11 apiece, but Merrill was held to just two baskets.
“BYU is a great team,” Porter said. “We knew it was going to be a dogfight coming into it. We knew they were going to want to push the pace and knock down some threes and that’s exactly what happened.”
“It was an electric environment tonight,” Aggies head coach Craig Smith said. “So it is difficult and they’re hurting. I get a little emotional because it’s an unbelievable group of young men to coach. One of our phrases is find a way to win and we didn’t do that tonight.”
The Beehive Classic — held annually at Vivint Smart Home Arena, home of the Utah Jazz, since 2017 — drew a record crowd of 14,383 for the two games. It was announced Wednesday that 2019 would be the final year of the event, a showcase that featured Utah, Utah State, BYU and Weber State, four of Utah’s six Division I programs.
“Utah State fans are beautifully insane,” BYU head coach Mark Pope said. “Our fans are incredibly loyal and great. It’s a big-time game. It’s two top-50 teams playing right here in Vivint, and that doesn’t happen all the time.”