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BYU basketball: Cougars to take break from WCC to host Utah State

Published: Monday, Feb. 18 2013 1:00 a.m. MST

The BYU Cougars will host in-state rival Utah State Tuesday. BYU (19-8) is coming off an 86-72 win over Portland, while Utah State (18-6) defeated New Mexico State in Logan, 73-69.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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PROVO — The BYU basketball team is pushing pause on the West Coast Conference play button.

The Cougars will host in-state rival Utah State Tuesday (7 p.m. MST, BYUtv).

This game between BYU and the Aggies was originally scheduled for Dec. 5 but was postponed after USU junior forward Danny Berger collapsed and stopped breathing during practice a little more than 24 hours before tipoff.

Berger was transported to the hospital, and he survived the ordeal.

Soon after the incident occurred, Utah State coach Stew Morrill made BYU coach Dave Rose aware of the situation.

The next morning, the coaches talked again and decided to postpone the game. In explaining the postponement last December, Rose said, "It's hard to compare a life-threatening situation and a basketball game."

Rose said Saturday that the goal for both coaches was to make up the game at a later date, and they didn't considered canceling it.

"When Stew and I first spoke, it was pretty much agreed upon that we would play the game," Rose said. "We put that second. What we put first was to see how the situation with Danny was going to turn out. I think all along, we both felt we had to play the game."

BYU (19-8) is coming off an 86-72 win over Portland, while Utah State (18-6) defeated New Mexico State in Logan, 73-69.

It's a relatively quick turnaround for both teams, though the Cougars had a bye last week before playing Portland.

"A week off does a lot for your legs," said BYU guard Tyler Haws, who scored 28 points against the Pilots. "We'll be ready to play Tuesday."

"At our age, we should always have fresh legs," said guard Craig Cusick, who started for the first time since Dec. 21 and scored 10 points and dished out seven assists. "We had a whole week off, and when that happens, you come out with more energy, more focus."

USU defeated the Cougars in the season-opener last season in Logan, 69-62.

"It's always a battle," Haws said about facing the Aggies. "They're always ready to play."

The Cougars, who will be looking for their 20th victory of the season, snapped a two-game losing streak last Saturday.

"We look forward to a day off, then a big day on Monday, preparation for Utah State on Tuesday," Rose said.

BYU will jump back into WCC play Thursday, when the Cougars visit Saint Mary's.

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