Aggies falter in second half, fall to Cougars

SALT LAKE CITY – Emotions were high Saturday when the Utah State men’s basketball team faced BYU at Energy Solutions Arena.

But for the second straight time at a neutral site, the Cougars bested the Aggies with an 85-74 win.

“BYU’s got a really good basketball team,” USU head coach Stew Morrill said. “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.”

The Aggies withstood a 12-6 run by BYU to start the game and fought back to a 44-39 lead at the intermission. Spencer Butterfield led the charge with 12 first half points on his way to a team-high 20 points.

USU shot better from the field and the 3-point line than the Cougars, as well as out-rebounding BYU 39-38 but it was the Cougars that out-played the Aggies physically in the second half. Tyler Haws scored a game-high 21 points and both teams had four players in double figures in scoring.

“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.”

Utah State fell to 5-1 with the loss, and return to action when the Aggies host Pacific on Dec. 7.

The game was originally scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m. but because the Utah State football team will be appearing in the Mountain West Conference championship football game that day at 8 p.m., the basketball game has been moved up to a 5 p.m. start. Immediately following the basketball game vs. Pacific, the football game will be displayed on the big screens at center court and concessions will remain open.

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