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Reliving classic BYU basketball victories one way Cougar fans can cope with sports stoppage

Thanks to modern technology — internet access and BYUtv.org — you can access the vast reservoir of the Cougars’ past games, via video-on-demand, to help fill up your free time.

BYU’s Jimmer Fredette shoots over Chris Kupets to score at the end of the first half as the University of Utah and BYU play men’s basketball Tuesday, Jan. 11, 2011, in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Tom Smart, Deseret News

PROVO — So, here we are.

It’s the middle of March and there’s no NCAA Tournament. How are we supposed to survive this dreary sports wasteland without hoops?

Well, if you’re a BYU basketball fan, we have an idea.

With the help of modern technology — internet access and BYUtv.org — you can access the vast reservoir of the Cougars’ classic games, via video-on-demand, to help fill up your free time in the absence of March Madness. Forget Hulu and Netflix. Try binge-watching BYUtv.org.

Due to the nature of broadcasting contracts, BYUtv doesn’t own the rights to all of the unforgettable contests over the years. In the modern era, for example, CBS owns the rights to all of the NCAA Tournament games. But, thanks in part to BYU’s relationship with ESPN, there’s still plenty of epic games available.

We culled the BYUtv.org archives and found a bunch of the greatest games we recommend to watch. Let’s call it the BYU 20 — in honor of a season where the Cougars were denied a bid to the Big Dance due to the cancellation of the NCAA Tournament.

Here’s our list of Top 20 games available at BYUtv.org, in chronological order:

1. BYU 108, LaSalle 106 (3 OT), Dec. 15, 1979

In this triple-overtime thriller, LaSalle’s Michael Brooks set a Marriott Center record that still stands for most points scored in a single game. But the Cougars pulled out the win.

2. BYU 78, UCLA 55, March 14, 1981

In this NCAA Tournament second-round game, called on NBC by Dick Enberg, Al McGuire and Billy Packer, the Cougars, behind Danny Ainge’s 37 points, advanced to the Sweet 16 against the Bruins in Providence.

3. BYU 51, Notre Dame 50, March 19, 1981

BYU reached the Elite Eight after Ainge’s famous coast-to-coast basket in the game’s waning seconds in Atlanta.

4. BYU 82, Utah 69, Jan. 30, 2010

During Jimmer Fredette’s junior season, the Cougars beat their archrivals in a game in Provo that featured Ute freshman Marshall Henderson ejected with 34 seconds remaining when he hit BYU’s Jackson Emery.

5. BYU 104, Utah 79, Jan. 11, 2011

During Fredette’s senior year, he erupted for 47 points at the Huntsman Center, the most ever by a BYU player against Utah. Fredette had 32 at intermission, including a 40-something footer at the halftime buzzer. It’s the game that many point to as the start of the “Jimmermania” phenomenon that season.

6. BYU 71, San Diego State 58, Jan. 26, 2011

No. 9 BYU, led by Fredette, hosted undefeated No. 4 SDSU, led by future NBA superstar Kawhi Leonard. In the end, Fredette poured in 43 points (Leonard had 22 and 15 rebounds) in a 71-58 victory over the Aztecs in front of a sellout crowd of 22,700.

7. BYU 78, UNLV 64, Feb. 5, 2011

Runnin’ Rebel guard Tre’Von Willis criticized Fredette, saying all that the BYU star did was shoot the ball. In this game in Provo, Fredette not only scored 29 points, but he also recorded seven assists. Whatchu talkin’ ‘bout Willis?

8. No. 8 BYU 102, Wyoming 78, March 5, 2011

In the final home game for Fredette and Jackson Emery, the Cougars hammered the Cowboys as Charles Abouo finished with a career-high 25 points.

9. BYU 83, Gonzaga 73, Feb. 2, 2012

The Cougars knocked off the No. 24 Zags in Provo for BYU’s second straight win over Gonzaga, including a victory in the second round of the previous season’s NCAA Tournament.

10. BYU 61, Utah 58, Dec. 8, 2012

The Cougars rallied from a 12-point first-half deficit to win before a crowd of 16,109 at the Marriott Center. Tyler Haws scored BYU’s final three points from the free-throw line, including two with 16.7 seconds remaining.

11. BYU 70, Utah State 68, Feb. 19, 2013

Cougar guard Craig Cusick buried a 12-foot putback with two-tenths of a second remaining to lift BYU to dramatic victory. It was especially meaningful for Cusick. Hours earlier that day, he learned that his dad, Randy, had been diagnosed with cancer.

12. BYU 86, Texas 82, Nov. 25, 2013

Tyler Haws scored 21 of his game-high 25 points in the final 11 minutes — including a clutch, 18-foot running jumper near the baseline with 43 seconds remaining as the shot-clock buzzer sounded — and the Cougars beat Longhorns at the Sprint Center in Kansas City.

13. BYU 60, Saint Mary’s 57, Feb. 15, 2014

Before this game, Saint Mary’s retired the No. 4 jersey of star and Cougar-killer Matthew Dellavedova. But BYU beat the Gaels for the first, and only, time at Saint Mary’s since joining the WCC. The Cougars are 1-8 against the Gaels in Moraga.

14. BYU 73, Gonzaga 70, Feb. 28, 2015

On the final day of February, BYU ushered in March Madness in style. The Cougars never trailed against the Zags and ended No. 3 Gonzaga’s 22-game winning streak and its 41-game home-court winning streak. It was the first of three straight victories at the Kennel.

15. BYU 69, Gonzaga 68, Jan. 14, 2016

BYU guard Kyle Collinsworth scored 18 of his 20 points in the second half as the Cougars overcame a 13-point second half deficit in an upset of No. 25 Gonzaga. BYU forward Nate Austin blocked a Kyle Wiltjer shot with two seconds remaining.

16. BYU 82, Princeton 73, Nov. 14, 2016

Playing in their first game together in three years after their time at Lone Peak High, Eric Mika, TJ Haws and Nick Emery led the Cougars past the Tigers in the 2016-17 season-opener as part of the ESPN Tip-off Marathon. In his first game after his mission, Mika scored 26 points and grabbed 18 rebounds.

17. BYU 77, Utah 65, Dec. 16, 2017

In the first game between the schools after a one-year hiatus in the rivalry, the Cougars earned their first victory over the Utes in five years. BYU’s Elijah Bryant scored 29 points and had nine rebounds.

18. BYU 68, Utah State 64, Dec. 14, 2019

Cougar guard Alex Barcello drilled a 3-pointer with 27 seconds remaining as BYU defeated Utah State in the final game of the Beehive Classic at Vivint Arena.

19. BYU 81, Saint Mary’s 79, Feb. 1, 2020

TJ Haws hit a deep 3 with nine seconds remaining in this memorable victory, a day before his wife delivered the couple’s first child.

20. BYU 91, Gonzaga 78, Feb. 22, 2020

On Senior Night against the No. 2 Zags, the Cougars ended Gonzaga’s 19-game winning streak in front of a sellout crowd. Senior Yoeli Childs finished with a game-high 28 points and 10 rebounds. As the final buzzer sounded, fans rushed the court.

Honorable mention: There are some other thrilling games featured at BYUtv.org that BYU ended up losing.

In 2012, No. 6 Baylor visited the Marriott Center and left with an 86-83 victory in what was the BYU debut for guard Matt Carlino.

In 2013, Saint Mary’s edged BYU 70-69 after Gael guard Matthew Dellavedova hit a 35-footer at the buzzer at the Marriott Center.

In 2017, BYU hosted the No. 1 team in the nation for the first time. Gonzaga beat the Cougars, 85-75.