No. 23 BYU 78, Utah St. 72

Despite being only the second game of the season, the instate

rivalry between Brigham Young and Utah State proved to be an

intense, loud contest more suited for a midseason contest.

It was BYU’s execution and clutch free throw shooting that

turned out to be the deciding factor down the stretch.

With the Cougars (2-0) leading 74-71 and 25 seconds left, Noah

Hartsock and Jimmer Fredette each hit two free throws to give BYU a

78-72 win over Utah State Wednesday night.

”Free throws really made a big difference down the stretch,”

said Utah State coach Stew Morrill. ”We played physical and the

atmosphere made it seem like a midseason game, not the second game

of the season. We gave ourselves a chance to win and that makes

this a really tough game to lose.”

BYU shot 77 percent from the free throw line on the night

including 13-of-15 in the second half while Utah State shot 58

percent from the line.

”I think we can really build from this,” BYU coach Dave Rose

said. ”It’s good to have to go to the free throw line late in

games, make free throws, get offensive and defensive rebounds late,

get a stop here and there when there’s a lot of pressure and a lot

on the line.”

Fredette scored 26 points to lead No. 23 BYU. Hartsock scored 15

with Charles Abouo and Jackson Emery adding 13 and 10 points

respectively.

Tai Wesley scored 13 of his 19 points in the first half to lead

the Aggies. He fouled out with 2:10 left in the game. That foul was

ruled intentional and put Chris Collinsworth on the line where he

converted both free throws to push the BYU lead to 74-69.

”I knew our guys would come out and compete,” said Morrill.

”When you are on the road against a top 25 team you always worry

that the game will get away from you. We played tough and were

within three there near the end, and I would have liked to see what

would have happened if Tai (Wesley) doesn’t get that intentional

foul.”

In the first half, Fredette tried to break the game open early

by scoring 12 of BYU’s first 15 points to help the Cougars to a

15-7 lead. Brian Green immediately responded for the Aggies by

sinking three straight 3-pointers to pull within one at 17-16.

Green finished the game with 17 points for Utah State (1-1).

”We had to trap Jimmer (Fredette) and that got us strung out on

defense because we were putting two guys on one player,” said

Morrill. ”It was a gamble we were willing to take.”

The two teams exchanged baskets the remainder of the first half

with neither team leading by more than four. Hartsock connected on

two free throws with six tenths of a second remaining in the half

to tie the game at 33.

Brady Jardine had a game-high 12 rebounds for the Aggies.