Aggies falter against Cougars for first loss
Published: Sunday, December 1, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 13:12
A sub-par second half doomed the Utah State men’s basketball team Saturday in an 85-74 loss to in-state rival BYU at the EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City.
“That's disappointing,” said USU head coach Stew Morrill. “We're going to live through it and try to get better. It's early in the year. BYU's got a really good basketball team. If we can get to where we can defend a little better, we'll have a nice team. They just played better and more physically, did a lot better in the second half."
After shooting 59.4 percent in the first half en route to a 44-39 lead, the Aggies were unable to contain a fast-paced Cougar offense in the second half in which BYU outscored USU 46-30.
"We couldn't get into the zone which really helped us in the first half. I thought that when we were able to get in our zone and slow them down a little bit,” Morrill said. “We weren't able to do that in the second half. We missed shot after shot after shot. They're fast. They're very fast. They drive by you and have really good athletes who can get to the basket. Their speed bothers everybody, no question."
Senior guard Spencer Butterfield scored a team-high 20 points and pulled down seven rebounds, Jarred Shaw recorded a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds and Preston Medlin added 10 points and seven assists, but it wasn’t enough.
BYU shot 47.1 percent from the field but went 2-for-12 from the 3-point line and the Aggies out-rebounded the Cougars 39-38, but BYU’s get-out-and-run offense led to 20 fast-break points and 54 points in the paint.
"Our defense wasn't very strong,” Butterfield said. “We needed to grab the ball a little bit better and they were taking advantage of that. I don't think fatigue was a factor. We just needed to buckle down and be a little more disciplined on defense. I think they made the tempo faster, but we're capable of playing at that pace.”
Junior Kyle Davis was one rebound shy of a double-double for the Aggies, finishing with 16 points and nine rebounds. The Aggies finished with a better shooting percentage from the field and from 3-point range but were unable to contain the Cougars.
The Aggies fell to 42-19 against in-state teams under Stew Morrill. USU is 7-7 against BYU in its last 14 games and trail the Cougars 138-92 in the all-time series, including 0-2 on neutral courts.
USU fell to 5-1 overall this season and will look to get back in the win column when the team hosts Pacific at 7 p.m. on Dec. 7.