SALT LAKE CITY (AP) – Jakob Poeltl had 26 points and 13 rebounds as Utah defeated rival BYU 83-75 on Wednesday night.
The Utes rolled over the Cougars in the first half and took a 23-point lead into halftime. BYU awoke during the break and started the second half with a 15-2 run, but it wasn’t enough to dig out of the first-half hole.
“The first half, I don’t know that we could have played much better,” Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. “We did a terrific job defensively, made a number of 3s and moved the basketball. It was really perfect.”
Poeltl shot 11 for 16 from the field and added five blocks. Kenneth Ogbe scored a season-high 13 and Jordan Loveridge finished with 12 points and five rebounds.
“Jakob did a nice job in the post,” Krystkowiak said. “They played him straight up in a number of possessions tonight and he did exactly what he needed to do.”
Kyle Collinsworth led BYU with 15 points, nine rebounds and five assists while Kyle Davis chipped in 12 points and eight rebounds. Chase Fischer added a season-high 26 points.
The victory should be a good non-conference win for Utah against a BYU team that could be in the hunt for an NCAA tournament berth.
The Utes dominated the first half from the opening tip. They took a 13-4 lead with a heavy dose of Poeltl in the paint. The lead extended to 35-13 after a 12-0 run was capped with a Loveridge 3-pointer.
The two teams went back and forth down the stretch of the first half, but the damage had been done and Utah went into halftime with a 51-28 lead.
The 28 points were a season-low for BYU in any half and the 51 points were the most it has allowed in any half.
The offensive-minded Cougars repeatedly attacked the basket, but couldn’t finish at the rim. They shot 35.5 percent in the first half – another season-low for any half.
On the other end, Utah couldn’t miss. They shot 52.9 percent from the field and 8 for 19 from behind the arc. The eight triples were two shy of matching the season high for an entire game.
“The first 15 minutes of the game were disappointing,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “We had a good scouting report and I think the guys were prepared, but our execution was not great. We got off to a good start in the second half, but we have to have the energy and attention to detail, even when we don’t get off to a good offensive start.”
BYU was able to cut the lead to single-digits in the second half, but the Cougars had no answer for Poeltl.
In the final 1:07 of the game, Fischer went on a 10-0 run by himself on three layups, one free throw and one trey. However, the late rally was not enough as Utah held on for the 83-75 win.
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