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Utah and BYU's men's basketball hiatus will be a short one.
The Utes and Cougars announced Thursday that they have an agreement to play a game in Provo during the 2017-2018 season, seemingly coming together to continue the longstanding rivalry after canceling the game that was scheduled for December.
"[BYU athletic director] Tom Holmoe and I have agreed to a game in Provo in November or December of 2017," Utah athletic director Chris Hill said in a news release. "We are in the process of formulating plans for the future with BYU. We are also looking at future matchups with other in-state schools."
The series came to a screeching halt in January, when the Utes bought out of the Provo 2016 game, after the Dec. 2 contest in which BYU freshman guard Nick Emery struck Utah senior guard Brandon Taylor in the closing minutes of an 83-75 Utes victory at the Huntsman Center.
Citing a troubling pattern of incidents in games with BYU, Utes coach Larry Krystkowiak acknowledged he had requested a cooling-off period for the "highly venomous and toxic environment" of the rivalry. Krystkowiak paid the $80,000 buyout out of his own pocket, Utah athletics confirmed.
But the ripples of the hiatus extended into the halls of state government. Multiple political officials, including Gov. Gary Herbert, expressed displeasure with the discontinuation of the 116-year-old rivalry. In February, the state acknowledged that the cancellation sparked an audit of Utah's athletic department by the Legislature in an apparently unprecedented performance review.
At the time of the cancellation, frosty feelings seemed to prevail. Krystkowiak said BYU showed "a lack of remorse" after the in-game incident that cost Emery a one-game suspension. BYU coach Dave Rose called the proposition for rescheduling the game in the future "scary."
One of the oldest series in college basketball stands 129-128 in BYU's favor, with Utah winning the past three games. The last time the series skipped a year was during World War II. In the past five seasons, the teams have met once per season instead of two because the Utes and Cougars are in different conferences.
The Utes also announced Thursday that they have scheduled home-and-home series with a pair of Midwestern programs, Xavier and Butler. The Utes will play host to Butler on Nov. 28, which will be one of Utah's two cancer-awareness games next season to raise money with the Huntsman Cancer Institute, and then play at Xavier on Dec. 10 in Cincinnati. The return games in the series will be in the 2017-18 season.
"Adding both Butler and Xavier to our 2016-17 schedule gives us an opportunity to play some elite programs in nonconference play," Krystkowiak said in a news release. "Both Butler and Xavier were NCAA Tournament teams last season, and they will give us a great test before starting Pac-12 play a few weeks later in the season."
Hill and Krystkowiak declined to comment further, spokeswoman Liz Abel said Thursday afternoon.