The Runnin’ Utes fell by 15 points with a score of 74-59 to their long-time rivals, the BYU Cougars, in the Beehive Classic on Saturday afternoon, at the Vivint Smart Home Arena.
Sedrick Barefield warmed up in the second half and led Utah by scoring with 16 points. Both Timmy Allen and Donnie Tillman chipped in with 10 points, but their effort wasn’t enough to stop BYU. Yoeli Childs put up 31 points and 11 rebounds in which would be a dominating performance and would prove too much for the Utes.
This loss dropped the Utes back to .500 on the season, while BYU improved to 7-4.
The first half was a sluggish back-and-forth battle which included five ties and eight different lead changes. Eventually, BYU headed into intermission with a 32-28 lead. Both teams shot poorly as Utah shot 38.5 percent from the field while BYU shot 37 percent from the field. The Cougars were able to take advantage of their free throw shooting, with a perfect 9/9 from the line.
Childs had 15 points at the break and scored BYU’s first 12 points of the game. Utah’s Riley Battin and Allen both scored 6 points in the first half while Barefield led the way with 9 points in the first half.
It was a different story in the second half. BYU opened the half with a 13-0 run that would push their lead to 17 points. They had a comfortable lead with a score of 45-28 and never looked back. The Utes, however, did manage to make it somewhat interesting and went on a 10-3 run over the next 6 minutes.
BYU ultimately pulled away by draining consecutive three-point shots and would get their lead back up to 17 points. The Cougars dominated the Utes, outscoring them 22-8 in the paint.
Utah struggled to defend BYU in the second half, which was the downfall for the Utes this game. BYU shot 56.7 percent from the field in the last 20 minutes of play, and Utah was limited to just 34.6 shooting from the field. The Cougars did a great job securing defensive rebounds and limiting second-half points. The Cougars grabbed 40 rebounds and held Utah to just 28.
The Utes will continue their tough stretch as they return to action next weekend with a road game against the Kentucky Wildcats. Utah and Kentucky will tip-off next Saturday, Dec. 15, at 5 p.m. (ET) at Rupp Arena in Lexington, KY.