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3 keys to Utah’s 73-69 upset of No. 14 BYU at the Huntsman Center

SHARE 3 keys to Utah’s 73-69 upset of No. 14 BYU at the Huntsman Center
Utah Utes center Keba Keita (13) hypes the crowd after his second dunk during a mens basketball game against the Brigham Young Cougars at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023.

Utah Utes center Keba Keita (13) hypes the crowd after his second dunk during a mens basketball game against the Brigham Young Cougars at the Jon M. Huntsman Center in Salt Lake City on Saturday, Dec. 9, 2023.

Megan Nielsen, Deseret News

Gabe Madsen scored 17 points and made a big 3-pointer with a minute left and Branden Carlson scored 15 points as unranked Utah held off No. 14 BYU 73-69 Saturday night at the Huntsman Center, ending the Cougars’ perfect season.

Utah improved to 7-2 with the win and snapped a three-game losing streak to its biggest rival. The Cougars, who entered the game No. 1 in the NET rankings, dropped to 8-1 in non-conference play.

Utah jumped out to a 45-31 halftime lead and led by as many as 16 points early in the second half before BYU stormed back.

The Cougars cut the deficit to two with 4:38 left when Jaxson Robinson hit a 3-pointer, but sophomore Keba Keita made a couple tip-ins to right the Utes.

BYU’s Richie Saunders hit a 3-pointer to cut Utah’s lead to 71-69 with 41 seconds left and the Cougars got the ball back when Carlson missed a trey to beat the shot clock. However, Keita forced Dallin Hall into a turnover and Rollie Worster made a pair of free throws with 1.8 seconds left to ice it for Utah.

Here are 3 keys to Utah’s win:

• Utah’s superior height was just too much for BYU, which was playing without big man Fousseyni Traore. The Utes dominated inside when it really mattered, with Keita making some big plays off the bench inside and Carlson grabbing eight rebounds. Spencer Johnson had 11 rebounds for BYU. 

• The Cougars lived by the 3-point shot in building an 8-0 record, but they died by it at the Huntsman Center, shooting a frosty 7 of 30 from beyond the arc. BYU went inside to get back in the game in the second half, but fell just short.

• The Utes shot 49% from the field, which was ultimately the difference in the game. The Cougars shot just 37% and also missed eight free throws.