Provo, UT (SportsNetwork.com) - Delon Wright had 18 points and 11 rebounds and No. 13 Utah ended a long winless drought in Provo with a 65-61 decision over in-state rival BYU.
While Wright's excellent all-around performance certainly played a part, it was the defense that fueled the Utes' (7-1) first road win in the series since January of 2005.
The Cougars entered Wednesday's showdown as the highest scoring team in Division I, but were held nearly 34 points below their season average while hitting just 36.9 percent of their shots against Utah's pressure.
Tyler Haws did finish with 23 points and eight rebounds for BYU (7-3), with Kyle Collinsworth compiling 17 points, nine rebounds and five assists in the loss.
"Utah is a team that's really balanced," said BYU coach Dave Rose. "It seems like when they sub, they're subbing a big guy for a big guy, or a long athletic guy for another long athletic guy."
The Utes trailed 38-34 early in the second half before clamping down on the defensive end, forcing BYU into three turnovers while putting forth a 10-0 run to move ahead.
Hawks appeared to get the Cougars back on track with a triple that cut Utah's lead to 46-43, but BYU went scoreless over the next three minutes and the Utes scored six straight points, with Dakarai Tucker's trey with 11:36 to go extending the margin to nine.
Wright's steal and dunk with six minutes remaining had Utah up 58-47, but the Cougars closed the gap behind a 10-3 swing in which Anson Winder netted eight points -- the last three on a long jumper that pulled BYU within 61-57 with 3:28 to play.
Collinsworth's putback off a Haws miss with 1:14 remaining got the Cougars even closer at 62-59, and Utah's Brandon Taylor missed two free throws on the other end to give BYU a chance at a tie. Haws missed an open look from beyond the arc, however, and Dallin Bachynski hit both foul shots with 27.7 seconds showing to enable Utah to hold on.
"I'm pleased with our young kids and their ability to focus," Utah coach Larry Krystkowiak said. "I think some of our veteran leadership down the stretch probably saved us."
A first half full of momentum swings saw BYU fall behind by 13 points midway through the period as it struggled to hit shots. The Cougars regained their scoring touch in a big way near the end of the frame, though.
Collinsworth threw down a pair of dunks off Utah turnovers, then knocked down a 3-pointer that was followed by consecutive treys by Haws. The trio of threes finished off a 14-0 stretch that had the Cougars ahead by three until two Bachynski free throws brought the Utes within 31-30 at the break.
BYU started out 2-of-10 from the floor and the Utes capitalized on their rival's early offensive woes, building a 24-11 lead nearly 10 minutes in after putting together a 9-2 run. Wright highlighted the sequence with a splendid 3- point play he started with a steal off an inbounds pass.
Utah had lost seven straight meetings with the Cougars at the Marriott Center, while BYU had won 11 of the last 13 overall matchups between the schools ... The Cougars had a 15-game home win streak halted, with their previous loss in Provo coming to Iowa State on Nov. 20, 2013 ... BYU had scored at least 85 points in each of its first nine games ... Collinsworth was coming off a 19- point, 12-rebound, 10-assist triple-double against Hawaii on Saturday ... Utah will next take on 10th-ranked Kansas in Kansas City this Saturday.