SALT LAKE CITY (AP) -- Utah quickly got over any letdown in its
first game since having its 18-game winning streak halted.
The Utes (No. 12 ESPN/USA Today; No. 13 AP) shot nearly 69 percent in the second half and
swept state rival Brigham Young for the season Saturday, winning
69-60 and then celebrating their Mountain West regular-season
championship by cutting down the nets.
The Utes (24-4, 12-1 MWC) were playing their first home game
since clinching the conference regular-season title last weekend.
And there is nobody Utah fans and players love to celebrate in
front of more than their private school rival about 50 miles to the
"Not just a rivalry game, but we tried to win another game,"
said Andrew Bogut, who had 26 points and 13 rebounds in his 19th
double-double of the season. "We wanted to come back and prove
we're worthy of being ranked."
But doing it against the Cougars made it all the more special.
Bogut didn't get a kick to the back like he did last month during
the Utes' win in Provo, but there was plenty of contact and talking
And in the end, Utah was on its home floor celebrating. The Utes
received the MWC trophy and then climbed the ladder to get a piece
of the net.
The Utes scored just seven points in the first 6 minutes, 24
seconds, but were unstoppable in the second half -- shooting
15-for-19 from the floor.
Marc Jackson finished with a career-high 11 assists and Justin
Hawkins added 21 points, also a career best.
"We need to win a few of these before we call it a turnaround
game," Ainge said.
BYU also had just 13 assists, only two fewer than Jackson's
total, and committed 28 fouls to Utah's 14.
"We tried to guard Bogut, but he shot a lot of free throws in
the first half and I'm sure he had big numbers," BYU coach Steve
Cleveland said. "Our aggression level was good and we competed,
but we just weren't good enough."
Richard Chaney added 10 points for the Utes, who close the
regular season next week against San Diego State.
Utah's 18-game winning streak ended Monday with a loss at New
Mexico. That loss also ended the Utes' chances of becoming the
first team to go unbeaten in the MWC. Utah was sluggish early, but
Bogut, Jackson and Hawkins led the second-half charge that put away
"We kind of panicked and got impatient offensively and that
compounds the issue. I probably didn't help a whole lot. I was
probably wound a little tight today too," said Utah coach Ray
Giacoletti, who was wearing his red sports jacket he had on in his
first meeting with the Cougars.
Everybody seemed a little edgy. Bogut and Ainge were both called
for technicals after a confrontation late in the first half when
Ainge and Jackson got tangled up and Bogut stepped in.
Ainge had already received the loudest boos when he was
introduced. He is the son of former Cougars player and current
Boston Celtic executive Danny Ainge, who is still disliked by Utah
fans more than 20 years after his college career.
The boos were even louder for the younger Ainge after the clash
with Bogut. Ainge was finally cheered by the Ute fans when he
fouled out with 1:27 remaining.
"It got a little bit seedy, but that's just how these teams are
and that's how it's got to be," Bogut said.
After a 29-all tie at halftime, Utah came out and took control
with a 7-2 run to start the second half. Ainge got BYU to 36-35
with back-to-back layups, but Bogut answered with a layup and,
after a steal Jackson, made a nice no-look pass to Hawkins, who
took it in for a dunk.
BYU called time out and came back with a 3-pointer by Hall to
cut Utah's lead to 40-38, then Hawkins' first 3-pointer of the year
sparked a 10-point run for the Utes. Bogut was wide open and made a
3-pointer. He was pumping his right arm after hitting the long
shot, then had to turn around right away after another steal by
The Utes got the ball to Bogut again and he hit a layup to put
the Utes up 50-38 and drew a foul. Bogut missed on the three-point
play opportunity, but the Utes were in control and didn't let the
Cougars get closer than five the rest of the game.