SALT LAKE CITY — BYU and Utah met for the 252nd time Saturday afternoon, and it may have been the ugliest game of the history of the rivalry.
Facing each other as non-conference opponents, the Utes and Cougars took turns clanking shots most of the day. In the end, heavily favored BYU defeated Utah in a sloppy, low-scoring affair, 61-42, at the Huntsman Center.
Cougar forward Noah Hartsock scored a game-high 19 points — including 14 in the second half — while Josh "Jiggy" Watkins, fresh off his one-game suspension, led the Utes with 14.
Utah (1-8) controlled the tempo for most of the game, running down the shot clock on nearly every possession, resulting in out-of-sync play on both sides.
The Utes shot an abysmal 27 percent from the floor while the Cougars shot 39 percent.
BYU (8-2) led by only six early in the first half before Hartsock took over, scoring 14 points during a 10-minute stretch that gave the Cougars a comfortable lead, 45-26, with 7:39 remaining in the game.112 comments on this story
Moments later, a 3-pointer by Charles Abouo put BYU up, 50-30, with just under six minutes left.
Both teams got off to a slow start and poor shooting continued throughout the first half. BYU missed its first six shots from the field, and 10 of its first 12, and turned the ball over three times in the first five minutes.
The Utes didn't fare much better, going 3-for-12 from the floor.
The horrific shooting continued for both teams. At halftime, BYU was shooting 27 percent (7-for-26) and Utah was shooting 18 percent (4-of-22). The Cougars led at that point, 25-17.