For the second time this week, BYU played at Vivint Arena, but this time with a much different result.

The Cougars were defeated 69-68 by South Dakota in what was the Provo school’s fifth consecutive contest played on a neutral court. 

After falling down by 21, BYU made things interesting, outscoring South Dakota 29-9 in the final 10 minutes of the game. But the Cougars could never get over the hump. 

BYU had a chance to win in the final seconds. However, that opportunity slipped away when a Rudi Williams 3-pointer bounced off the rim as the buzzer sounded. 

“(It’s) certainly a disappointing outcome for us,” BYU coach Mark Pope said. “I’m really proud of our guys for playing hard and competing hard in the second half. We’re not a very good team right now and we’re not a very tough team right now. But we are working hard. We’ve just got to grow. There’s a learning curve to learning how to compete. There’s a learning curve to learning the price of winning. … We’re in the muck of trying to learn those lessons.”

BYU had not lost at Vivint Arena since a 2007 defeat against Michigan State, giving the Cougars a 17-game win streak on that court before Saturday’s loss.

Earlier in the week, BYU beat Westminster at Vivint Arena and set a school record for 3-pointers made with 19. South Dakota matched that number in their Monday meeting with Mount Marty, en route to an incredible 57.6% 3-point percentage that night. 

BYU did not win the 3-point battle against the Coyotes, who again shot better than 50% from beyond the arc Saturday. 

The Cougars entered the contest shooting 50% from 3 on 32 made 3s over its past two games. On Saturday, however, their previously impressive shooting disappeared, as they finished the game at a subpar 21.2% from 3. 

South Dakota jumped out to a 15-point halftime lead, powered by its 3-point shooting. The Coyotes made eight first half 3s on just 13 tries despite averaging just 8.5 made 3s per game coming into the contest. 

“We couldn’t guard them at all in the first half,” Pope said of his team’s defense. “(And) we were really stagnant offensively. … Probably the most concerning thing in the first half was just our struggles to guard. That just hasn’t been us. That’s not supposed to be the makeup of this team. So, you know, we had to go back to the drawing board a little bit there.”

Another challenge that the Cougars again had to face was playing without Spencer Johnson, as the junior guard missed a third straight game due to injury. 

Still, a bright spot for the Cougars continued to be their rebounding. BYU had only been outrebounded two times this season coming into their matchup with the Coyotes and again left the game with a positive rebounding margin. 

Saturday’s meeting was the first time that BYU and South Dakota met on a basketball court. The two schools’ initial meeting is one the Cougars would like to soon forget. Pope, however, hopes his team can learn from the adversity. 

“It’s a really special group of young men,” he said of his team. “They’re really engaged in kind of this learning and growing process. They want to get better. It just is, you know, a frustrating night.”

The night ended with three Cougars in double figures. Williams scored 20, Dallin Hall 14 and Fousseyni Traore added 12.

South Dakota guard Kruz Perrott-Hunt scored a career high with 26. The New Zealand native was lethal from 3-point range, going 4 of 5 from distance. 

The loss halts BYU from earning a third consecutive victory — what would have been its longest win streak of the year. The Cougars will look to bounce back when they play their first home contest in two and a half weeks against UVU Wednesday. The Wolverines defeated BYU in an overtime game a season ago.