In a rivalry renewed, BYU took down Utah 77-65. Now, let's take a deeper look at the Cougars' first victory over the Utes since December 2012.
From 3-point shooting to Elijah Bryant's remarkable performance, here's an analysis of BYU's win over Utah Saturday night.
The biggest statistical reason BYU won this game is the Cougars made their 3-pointers and the Utes didn't. Four Cougars shot 50 percent or better from behind the arc, and the best Ute, Tyler Rawson, shot only 2-6 from distance. BYU hit five more threes with two fewer attempts than Utah.
Bryant had the biggest day, going 5-7 from behind the arc. However, the two most important threes of the games came from Payton Dastrup in a key stretch after Yoeli Childs had started cramping up. Those two shots, in addition to BYU's injury problems, could mean that Dastrup could get more minutes in games to come.
Also, this was the only time the Utes have given up 50 percent from 3-pointers this season. The only team to come close was Butler at 40 percent.
A strong start
The last time the Cougars and Utes met, Utah simply buried BYU in too deep a hole to come back from. The Utes scored 51 points in the first half to the Cougars' meager 28. BYU would come back to lose by only eight, but its inability to stop Utah's initial surge sealed its fate.
There would be no such Utah surge this time.
This time, BYU would be the one to hold its opponent to just 28 points in the first half. After a competitive start, BYU pulled away with a 10-0 run midway through the first half. While Utah would occasionally chip away at BYU's lead to as small as five, the Cougars maintained about a 10-point advantage for the rest of the game.
Bryant goes all the way
BYU's bench was thin with Dalton Nixon, Ryan Andrus and Braiden Shaw all out due to injury. Cougar fans all held their collective breath as Childs started cramping up and had to leave the game. It also didn't help that McKay Cannon got into foul trouble and had to spend much of the game on the bench. So, Bryant had to play all 40 minutes of the game.
And he made the most of his time with 29 points, nine rebounds, four assists, three steals and a blocked shot.
Some BYU fans often wondered last season when Bryant first started the playing with the team why landing the Elon transfer was such a big deal as he was limited due to injury. Now they know.
An $80,000 irony
Consider for a moment what would have happened had Utah not decided to cancel last year's game. While it's difficult to say who would have won, it would be fair to say that the Utes would have been favored to win even in the Marriott Center.
That would mean that this year's game would have happened at the Huntsman Center instead of in front of an energized and safety-obsessed BYU crowd hungry for a big win. Given Utah's road struggles this season, moving this game to Salt Lake probably would have dramatically affected the outcome. Even moving it to the neutral Vivint Arena would have probably helped Utah.
Granted, Utah would have also had a better chance if freshman Donnie Tillman hadn't missed the game due to a foot injury. Ah, what might have been.
Rawson's big night
Something that could be lost in the Utes' loss to BYU was Rawson's big stats. He almost had a triple-double with 15 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists.
Like it or not, BYU will need Utah to do well in the Pac-12 as this win over the Utes will be the Cougars' best resume-building win come Selection Sunday. While this Utah team is clearly in rebuilding mode, getting Tillman back and gaining some confidence on the road should help this team get some traction in league play. Hopefully.