Loyal Cougars

Bartley sparks Cougars to rally past Utah State, 85-74

Freshman Frank Bartley IV energized BYU in the second half to move the Cougars past Utah State.

Viewers of BYU’s pregame fan event BOOM Shakalaka at the Smith Fieldhouse knew freshman Frank Bartley IV could dunk. It turns out he can do a little more, too.

Bartley sparked the Cougars to an 85-74 win over Utah State at Energy Solutions Arena in Salt Lake City, coming off the bench to supply 14 points and five rebounds. The youngster from Louisiana keyed a 21-8 run to open the second half, after the Aggies took a 44-39 lead into the locker room.

Tyler Haws led the Cougars with 21 points and three assists, and Matt Carlino supplied 18 points, four rebounds and two assists. Eric Mika added 15 points and nine rebounds, and Kyle Collinsworth contributed a versatile seven points, 13 rebounds and eight assists.

But the story of the night was Bartley, who dazzled the crowd with empty-lane dunks and jumped into passing lanes before dishing out assists — including a nice dime to Skyler Halford for two of his eight second-half points.

The Aggies shot 59 percent from the field in the opening 20 minutes, and BYU did just enough to stay in the game while weathering the first-half storm and pouring in 46 percent from the field. Preston Medlin scored nine of his 10 points before the break, and Kyle Davis had 10 of his 16 points in the first frame as well.

Coming out of the locker rooms where the Utah Jazz normally call home, the Aggies began to fizzle — and Bartley began to sizzle. The 6-foot-3 first-year player from Future College Prep in Los Angeles was a force in the second half, and Utah State had no answer to his pace and incessant attacking on both ends of the court.

Spencer Butterfield scored a game-high 20 points for the Aggies, who dropped their first game of the year. Jarred Shaw had 12 points and 13 rebounds for Utah State, who dominated the glass by a 19-14 margin in the first half. The Cougars then came back into the paint after the break, nearly going equal with 58 rebounds to 59 for Utah State. BYU also scored nine second-chance points after the break, and outscored the Aggies’ bench 22-16.

The Cougars have seen wizardry out of the Big Four of Haws, Collinsworth, Carlino and Mika. But with role players Anson Winder, Halford and — most recently — Bartley finding their ways into the regular rotation, the Cougars’ depth is improving.

Perhaps the biggest stat of the night for BYU was a single digit: the Cougars finished with nine personal fouls — as a team, to Utah State’s 17 (though many of those came as the Aggies fouled late during a brief comeback bid). The foul disparity and inability to get into the bonus led Utah State coach Stew Morrill to concede the final 30 seconds of the game rather than extend the night, and Carlino was able to easily dribble out the final tickets of the clock.

BYU improved to 6-2 with the victory and picked up another solid win, this against a veteran Utah State team likely to assemble a solid campaign. The Cougars host the North Texas Mean Green (5-3) on Tues., Dec. 3 before another big non-conference matchup on Saturday, Dec. 7 against the #24 UMass Minutemen (6-0) in Springfield, Mass.