So maybe it wasn't a stylish win. It was pretty good looking in Roger Reid's eyes.
"Intense," he preferred."Hard-earned," was Gary Trost's description.
"Frustrating" was the word from Utah State Coach Kohn Smith.
Brigham Young University got its 10th straight basketball victory against the Aggies Saturday night, this one 63-58 in the Spectrum, which held a sellout audience of 10,294 plus local television cameras.
It was 60-58 with :05 left, before Rich Jardine's 12-footer missed the Aggie basket and Jay Goodman was forced to foul BYU's Jeff Campbell, who'd rebounded.
Campbell missed one, made the second.
The Aggies were still in business, but instead of making a halfcourt inbounds pass to an open Allen Gordon, who could have called time or passed to Kendall Youngblood in three-point range, Jardine threw the length of the court. BYU's Shawn Bradley came up with it and was fouled by Youngblood with :00 left. Bradley made both free throws for the five-point final margin.
"Every one I've been in, the game goes down to the wire against Utah State," said Trost, a sophomore playing the Aggies for the fourth time. "It's just a great rivalry."
BYU, playing most of the first half without Bradley, out with foul trouble for a second straight game, built a 30-20 lead behind Steve Schreiner's play (15 points, 12 rebounds the first half) and a miserable half of Aggie shooting (30 percent from the field, 46 from the free-throw line). BYU ended up ahead 35-27 at intermission. It was up 35-24 until a Youngblood three-pointer with :16 left.
Utah State came back with seven-for-10 shooting to start the second half, going up 47-41 on a Jardine three-pointer at 13:09.
The Aggies would make exactly one more field goal the rest of the game.
"I don't think it was an ugly win," said Reid. "You have two teams playing an intrastate game trying hard, and you're going to have turnovers and fouls. Everything doesn't turn out beautiful."
But everything for BYU against USU has turned out a win since 1985.
"Oh, it's frustrating," said Smith. "As a coach, I can't go out and make the free throws and field goals. All I can do is set them up.
"We had all the chances," Smith lamented, leaping up to diagram the inbounds play and wishing he'd called time then instead of leaving it to Jardine to decide the play.
"We got on top the second half and started missing free throws," said Smith. "That's when you build a lead, and we didn't get it done."
"We get a lead and can't get a knockout punch," said Goodman, who suffered through a 2-for-14 shooting night after making a team-record nine three-pointers against BYU at the Marriott Center a week ago.
"That was big - getting down on defense," said Trost, who gave the Cougars the lift they needed in the second half when Schreiner went scoreless while getting just two rebounds. Trost had 10 points and seven rebounds in the second half, and had 11 and 11 for the game.
"I was pleased with our depth," said Reid. "I took 13 guys to finally get it."
"That's what's unique about our team," said Trost, who usually stays more in the background but had to take a stand with Bradley in foul trouble, Schreiner shut out and Kenneth Roberts hampered with and finally out of the game on fouls. "Schreiner had his shots the first half; I started to open up in the second half," Trost said.
Schreiner said he'd switched from an underneath-type forward to the three position when Roberts was out. "I'm not as accustomed to that position. I took myself out of the game," he said.
Reid was wondering where he was. "I thought the second half he wasn't around. Maybe they blocked him out," Reid said.
He did know where 7-foot-6 Bradley was. Bradley played six minutes of the first half, and Reid sat him down with his second foul, all according to USU's game plan. The Aggies drove on him, and after Bradley went down with two, it was Jared Miller's turn. He got three fouls in 26 seconds. Reid didn't want Bradley to get his third foul while still in the first half.
The second half, Bradley took a while to stoke it up. "It is hard to get warmed up," he said. "I felt I was in it all the way," he added. He finished with 14 points and six rebounds in 18 minutes of play, and his basket and two free throws with eight-plus minutes left in the game kept the Aggies from putting the game away. He scored four of the Cougs' last five points.
Utah State was up 49-44, but Bradley's four points cut it to 49-48 by 8:21. Bradley got his fourth foul - on offense - 19 seconds later, but a foul and technical foul against Youngblood gave BYU four free throws, and Scott Moon converted three of them for a 51-50 BYU lead. It was tied at 51 and 53, and then BYU took the lead for good on a Trost rebound basket at 5:57.
BYU's now 3-1, 3-0 in in-state games. Utah State dropped to 0-2, both against BYU. The Cougars play La Salle a Philadelphia Tuesday, then host the Cougar Classic Friday. Utah State plays at Utah Tuesday and at Boise State Saturday.