PROVO -- BYU's Craig Cusick made his only made shot against Utah State count.
Cusick's one field goal of the game -- he missed six others -- to follow Matt Carlino's missed 3-point attempt lifted the Cougars to a 70-68 win over the Aggies for their third straight win over USU in Provo and fourth away from Logan.
The pattern continued -- barely.
Playing the non-conference game on Tuesday night because it was re-scheduled due to USU swingman Danny Berger's cardiac arrest in early December, the Cougars slipped by the Aggies after a sluggish second half. BYU scored just 29 points on 8-of-30 shooting after intermission as USU gradually rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit.
USU coach Stew Morrill wanted nothing of Cusick's lone score of the season or BYU's lousy late play, however, in understanding his team's defeat. For Morrill, it was the Aggies' 18 turnovers and 17-of-27 shooting from the free-throw line that kept USU from beating BYU at the Marriott Center for the first time since 2004.
"We did a lot of things right," Morrill said, describing USU's 39-33 advantage on the boards and holding BYU to just 35 percent field goal shooting. "Give BYU credit. They made a heck of a play at the end."
Aggie swingman Spencer Butterfield capped his team-leading 21-point night with two free throws that tied the game at 68, after racing up the court following a long BYU 3-point miss.
Ironically, it was a similar long rebound that enabled Cusick to bring restitution to Carlino's miss, his feet not even coming back to the floor in order to complete the go-ahead score in time.
Guard Tyler Haws scored 27 points to lead BYU, mixing set shots with off-balance floaters. Forward Brandon Davies and guard Brock Zylstra each scored 10 for the Cougars. Butterfield added 14 rebounds to notch his fourth double-double in his past six games, while center Jarred Shaw and swingman Marvin Jean scored 13 and 11, respectively.
Shaw appeared dubious of a foul call on him with 1:48 remaining, when he became tangled with Davies on an entry pass attempt from Carlino. BYU's "left, right" chant marking Shaw's steps after fouling out echoed the familiar refrain from the USU student body at the Smith Spectrum, hundreds who traveled to Provo for the contest. In being restricted to the uppermost northeast corner of the arena, their incessant chants proved to be hardly audible during game action.
Shaw's early exit proved to hardly matter. Ben Clifford's bobbling the ball from a tricky Marcel Davis pass on the other end encouraged three BYU defenders to rush him, freeing Jean for a 22-foot 3-pointer before Butterfield raced up the court and drew a foul moments later that enabled him to knot the game for the first time since two Jordan Stone free throws with 10:28 in the first half. It was a common sight for the 6-foot-10 sophomore, whose 5-of-9 evening from the charity stripe marked his most free throw attempts of the season. With less than four fouls, he was in a minority: five teammates tallied that many, beyond Shaw's departure.
"They are a physical team. We knew that coming in," Haws said. "We have been in this situation before but on the losing end, so it feels good to come out on top."
Stone's four blocks didn't keep BYU coach Dave Rose from designing for Carlino to penetrate in BYU's go-ahead possession, though the sophomore pulled up well short of that on a well-defended screen to miss an attempt multiple feet beyond the arc. His miss marked a 1-of-10 display from BYU from distance after halftime, capping a 4-of-21 performance beyond the arc for the evening.
"That would have allowed us to see if (USU) would give help," Rose said. "That would open up the corners and allow Matt to take it all the way to the rim. We got a clean look, though. With the time difference, we could send all five guys to the glass.
"This was a big win for our team," Rose added. His group has won two straight after dropping consecutive contests on Feb. 7 and 9 against San Diego and San Francisco, respectively--two teams they had beaten earlier in West Coast Conference play.
"As a player, you couldn't dream it any better," Cusick said. "I ran to where I thought it was going to come off. I was fortunate the ball came to me."
USU returns to action in a BracketBusters contest in Logan against Illinois State at 7 p.m. Saturday.
* NO. 1 INDIANA 72, NO. 4 MICHIGAN STATE 68: At East Lansing, Mich., Victor Oladipo's go-ahead putback, dunk and free throws in the final minute lifted top-ranked Indiana to a win over No. 4 Michigan State on Tuesday night.
Indiana (24-3, 12-2 Big Ten) broke a first-place tie in the conference. The Hoosiers had lost 17 straight -- since 1991 -- on the road against the Spartans.
* NO. 2 MIAMI 54, VIRGINIA 50: At Coral Gables, Fla., Reggie Johnson made a tie-breaking layup with 5.7 seconds left Tuesday night, and the Miami Hurricanes overcame a ragged offensive performance for the second game in a row to beat Virginia and remain unbeaten in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Durand Scott added two clinching free throws with 4.1 seconds to go for the Hurricanes, who earned their 14th consecutive victory and took a big step toward their first league title. The win came two nights after they rallied late to beat Clemson 45-43.
* MISSOURI 63, No. 5 FLORIDA 60: At Columbia, Mo., Laurence Bowers had 17 points plus 10 rebounds and Missouri erased a 13-point deficit in the second half to rally past Florida.
Phil Pressey added 10 assists, seven points, six rebounds and three steals for Missouri (19-7, 8-5 SEC). The Tigers didn't have Bowers a month ago in a 31-point blowout loss at Florida.
Mike Rosario had 14 points for Florida (21-4, 11-2) but missed a 3-point try at the buzzer. The Gators had won 13 of 14 and led 49-36 with 10:51 left, then hurt themselves at the foul line.
The Tigers improved to 15-0 at home this season. They are 30-1 the last two seasons under coach Frank Haith.
* NO. 15 BUTLER 68, DUQUESNE 49: At Indianapolis, Rotnei Clarke scored 16 points and Khyle Marshall added 14 to lead Butler past reeling Duquesne.
The Bulldogs (22-5, 9-3 Atlantic 10) have won five of their last six and managed to keep pace with league-leading Virginia Commonwealth, which went into the night with a one-game lead over Butler and a 1/2 game lead over St. Louis.
Duquesne (8-18, 1-11) was led by Derrick Colter with 11 points and Jerry Jones with nine but lost for the 15th time in 17 games.