Huge win for BYU and missed opportunity for Utah

Gonzaga Byu 2

Huge win for BYU and missed opportunity for Utah


If you’d told me the all-time leading scorer for BYU basketball would be on the free throw line late in the game to ice a win against the #3 team in the country – and miss both free throws – I would have told you you’re crazy. And that BYU would go on to win anyways, I’d say you’re even crazier.

That’s precisely what happened. BYU hung on to beat #3 ranked Gonzaga in Spokane, despite two uncharacteristic misses from Tyler Haws with under a minute to go. The triumph was clearly one of BYU’s best wins in a long time. The win also gave Cougar fans something to cheer about again this year.

It remains to be see if the Gonzaga upset is enough to propel BYU into the NCAA tournament. The win does at least give the Cougars some momentum heading into the WCC tournament. BYU needs to likely advance to the final of the WCC tournament (in which they would presumably rematch Gonzaga) to keep their tournament hopes alive. Whether they need to win that rematch or not is an unknown. Regardless, it’s safe to say BYU is certainly playing some good basketball right now.

Kyle Collinsworth continues to be the heart and soul of the team. He had 20 points and 8 rebounds. Skyler Halford also played very well with 14 points. Haws had a bit of an off-night but still scored 10.

Great win for BYU. ESPN kept gushing about how the win snapped Gonzaga’s 41 game home winning streak. I don’t give much credence to that streak. I think a 10 game home winning streak in a power conference is more impressive. That said, BYU did go up to Spokane and beat the Zags on their home floor for the first time since they joined the WCC.



Utah came up short again against an incredibly talented Arizona team. I heard from a friend who was in attendance that the Huntsman Center was the loudest it’s ever been. Tough loss for the Utes. However, there is no shame in the loss. Arizona, along with maybe Duke, may be one of the only teams that can actually give Kentucky a game in the tournament. I think Arizona is that good.

A win tonight would have certainly taken Utah to the next level. Keep in mind though that Utah is still a legitimate top 15 team. This loss doesn’t diminish what they’ve done this year. They should still be a #4 seed in the tournament. And if they get one more crack at Zona in the PAC-12 tourney and knock them off, maybe they jump up to a #2 or 3 seed.

Despite the loss, Utah fans should still feel very good about the season and the direction the program is heading.

Matt Nielson has been writing about the college sports landscape in Utah and the Intermountain West since 2010. When he’s not pretending to be a professional blogger, he works full time as a residential real estate agent and house flipper. Matt graduated from Brigham Young University in 2000. He and his family reside in Salt Lake City, UT.


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