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BYU defeats No. 25 Gonzaga 73-65

Feb 20, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 11:13 pm | Permalink

A 6-0 BYU run kicked off the second half, leaving Gonzaga scrambling to get back on top. The Cougars held onto the lead, staying at least one possession ahead through the end of the game. Matt Carlino pushed the lead to eight, 68-60, on a layup with two minutes to play for BYU’s largest lead of the half. BYU wrapped up the game 73-65.

Anson Winder led the charge in the second half with 12 points, finishing with 17 total and going 10 for 10 from the free-throw line. Three other Cougars finished with double-figure points—Eric Mika with 13, Tyler Haws with 12 and Carlino with 15.

BYU tied with Gonzaga 39-39 at halftime

Feb 20, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 10:00 pm | Permalink

BYU led with a 9-3 run to start the game, but Gonzaga stole the lead on a 6-0 run to go up 13-11. Tied at 15, two jumpers by Skyler Halford and another by Tyler Haws put the Cougars back on top 21-15 with 11:15 until halftime. BYU increased that lead to 28-18 on a contested Eric Mika jumper.

Gonzaga cut down the lead in the last three minutes, tying the score at 36 and going ahead on a free throw in the final minute. Haws tied the score at 39 on a last-second jumper to end the half.

Mika led with 11 points and five rebounds. BYU shot 51.7 percent, while the Bulldogs shot 48.1 percent.

Quotes from Wednesday's post-practice interviews

Feb 19, 2014 - Posted by knielsen at 8:14 pm | Permalink

BYU head coach Dave Rose

Defending Gonzaga:

It's one of the most difficult challenges because of how good they are inside. That's a real interesting challenge with that front line. That's probably the biggest difference in the challenge is that their personnel is really skilled and pretty deep."

"I think the guys are upbeat which is good and they have a positive mindset. One of the real challenges of a five to six month season is to try to get through everything and stay as even keeled as possible because there's always another game coming. That challenge requires your full attention, your focus, your dedication. Hopefully our guys are learning that's part of the process and to respect the process you can't get too down and you can't get too up."

"I think our guys, mentally and emotionally, really want the win. We'll have to see how they respond physically, sometimes the guys are too high emotionally and have a hard time settling into the game. I like the resiliency of our team and the resolve of our group. There are times when I'd like us to execute a whole lot better. Hopefully, what we get tomorrow is a team that has real urgency and real energy and real execution."

 

Tyler Haws

Pangos:

"He's a big piece to their team and their program. He's got a lot of experience...He's been around a lot of really good basketball. He's had our number for a few years, so we've got to lock in and know where he's at all the time."

To get a win on Thursday:

"We have to consistently score for 40 minutes. We've got to lock in and guard the 3-point line a lot better than we did at their place. I think that kind of got away from us."

Second half at Saint Mary's:

"It's definitely something to build on. Everyone was locked in to making a defensive play instead of not being so focused on 'Am I in the right spot? Am I in the right position?' Everyone was trying to get a hand on a ball, jump on a loose ball or get a steal."

 

Kyle Collinsworth

"When we don't let teams shoot threes we win. That's huge for us and Gonzaga has a lot of good shooters and we have to limit their attempts because when they get open shots they make them."

Defense winning the Saint Mary's game:

"We needed a game like that -- a close game where we had to dig down and get some stops."

 

Nate Austin

On Gonzaga:

"The last two years they've lost one league game so far. They're coming in with a lot of confidence because they're a team that expects to win. They go to the tournament every year and win a lot of games every year and they dominate this conference."

February Baseball Blog

Feb 16, 2014 - Posted by Ralph R. Zobell at 9:02 pm | Updated: March 6, 2014 11:19 am | Permalink

GRANDPA LITTLEWOOD: Add a new title to coach Mike Littlewood, who became a grandpa hours before his team left with him for the season opener in Arizona. Littlewood’s son Tyson is the proud papa of a daughter named Capri. Last month Coach Littlewood spoke at the 10-year reunion of one of his Dixie College teams and at the Utah High School Coaches Association.

LOPEZ CRIB SHEETS: In addition to scouting reports, BYU senior Bret Lopez is the recipient of a manila envelope each trip, prepared by his wife, Taryn. The tradition began when they were dating, but the Arizona trip marked the first packet Bret received from Taryn since they were married last May. Inside each envelope is a “scouting report” of the community where Bret and the Cougars are playing. For instance, on one trip last year Bret learned through the packet that the school they were playing was the oldest institution west of the Mississippi. Population and other interesting bits of trivia are enclosed to help Bret learn more of the environment.

JOINING LOPEZ: Junior Andy Isom along with Bret Lopez and teammate Hayden Nielsen, are members of the Cougar Council, representing BYU baseball among the student-athletes. Because Lopez is the co-chair of that council, baseball was allowed to add Isom as a second team representative.

HERNANDEZ REDSHIRTING: Catcher Dakota Hernandez made a decision at the end of last month to redshirt this season. The junior had off-season surgery on his labrum after rebounding from a broken thumb midseason last year. The Cougars are three-deep at catcher with junior Jarrett Jarvis the most experienced, backed by JC transfer Bo Fisher and true freshman Bronson Larsen. Also redshirting this season is pitcher Michael Rucker, a transfer from Gonzaga, due to NCAA rules.

LUND KUDOS: Freshman outfielder Brennon Lund was tapped twice by Perfect Game magazine in preseason mention. Lund was picked as the West Coast Conference Freshman of the Year and listed No. 43 in its top 100 freshmen in the country.

AFTER KANSAS TO ARKANSAS: Junior third baseman Dillon Robinson is making a return trip to Arkansas. In 2012 Robinson started in the first of two games at No. 4 Arkansas. This summer he will be returning for a 10-week internship with Walmart. As part of that preparation, Robinson read the biography of Sam Walton. Of course, it helped that Robinson had a cumulative 3.53 GPA, is majoring in finance and that a former player of BYU assistant coach Brent Haring had a key acquaintance in the Walmart hierarchy who had played for him at Harding University in Arkansas.

TEXAS TOAST: This week BYU plays at the Kleberg Bank Classic in Corpus Christi, Texas. Freshmen Mackay Jacobsen, Tyler Kendrick and Hayden Parker all live within 20 minutes of each other in Texas. Kendrick’s father Peter made the trip with his wife last week to Arizona where the former Cougar All-American played at that same Peoria Sports Complex as a minor leaguer. Peter also had a reunion with fellow battery-mate David “Boy” Eldredge, whose son was a senior catcher for Kansas.

ARIZONA FIRESIDE: BYU’s baseball players spoke and sang at a fireside for the Glendale North, Glendale and Peoria Stakes in addition to playing Kansas on its Arizona trip. Bishop Ted Heid of the Sunburst Ward conducted and helped host the Cougars on their four-day trip. Heid is the Seattle Mariners' Director of Pacific Rim Scouting.

One of shortstop Hayden Nielsen’s grandmothers played the piano while the team sang “We’ll Bring the World His Truth.” Arizonans Eric Urry and Hayden Rogers, both returned missionaries, joined senior co-captain Chris Howard and Coach Mike Littlewood as the main speakers. From an overflow chapel of youths, questions were submitted and answered by Cougars Mackay Jacobsen, Nielsen, Andy Isom, Howard and Brandon Kinser and assistant coach Brent Haring.

Urry quoted 2 Nephi 31:20 and told of looking for promised blessings. He told an analogy of riding a bike, using three principles. 1) Keep on moving forward, never slowing down or stopping. 2) Keep on pedaling, endure to the end and draw strength from it. 3) Move as straight as possible without making any sudden deviation.

Rogers told how he could hear the calm voice of his high school coach above the noise of the crowd. “How was I able to hear his voice so easily? We prepared in practice.” He told of how we need to listen to the small, distinct voice amidst so many distractions. He quoted Mosiah 2:41.

Howard talked about how he was baptized last December. His parents and girlfriend were in attendance at the fireside. He told of how he hadn’t always made good choices and had been suspended for 25 games as a junior. He talked about the importance of being an example. He quoted 1 Timothy 4:12. Later when questioned, he told of how he had committed to attend Creighton University while in high school, but they later pulled their offer.

Littlewood quoted Joshua 24:15 and told of how his wife listened with their son to a CD that had a catchy beat, but had bad words. He told of them teaching their son that subtly those words are going into his subconscious. He referred to seeing the light in the distance of the Manti Temple while driving in a dark night.

Haring answered a question about finding time to balance team and family amidst stress and told of the wives that supported the coaches and staff. Jacobsen answered a question about scripture study. Nielsen answered a question about qualities needed to be a co-captain. Isom answered a question about having a balance between school and baseball and the importance of having a plan. Kinser answered a question about the importance of serving a mission, to not look at it being a stumbling block, rather as a stepping stone.

Coach Rose and players talk about road trip after practice

Feb 11, 2014 - Posted by Sugene Lee at 6:10 pm | Updated: February 11, 2014 7:52 pm | Permalink

Coach Dave Rose

On challenges against Pacific:

“[Pacific] is a really good team. I think the matchup for us is really difficult because of their ability to drive the ball and they drive it right at us. We told our guys today that we were the benefit of a superb offensive game by Tyler. We had that offensive cushion for most of the game, but it really felt like we were on our heels a lot in that second half. As a coaching staff, we really feel like we have our hands full and our guys are going to have to be good. We’re going to have to play a really good game to get going and win. We have to play a full game.”

On improvements:

“I believe our team has improved in a lot of different ways. Coming home, we had some really big offensive nights from Tyler and hopefully we don’t depend on them. We need to be prepared and have some good balance in our offensive game. I think defensively we’ve improved in our concentration as far as our execution is concerned, but the key to this road trip is to stay out of foul trouble and defend the 3-point line.”

“It’s so important during this time of year to be physical and to compete in a real physical nature, but we need to find a way to be more physical and foul less, if that’s possible, because we need to keep our big guys out of foul trouble.”

“We pay a lot more attention to detail on our defensive game plan. I think our rebounding statistics have been really good at home and hopefully we can transfer those things on the road. I believe our guys have really improved consistently throughout the game in that area.”

On home stretch:

“I think you can feel it from the guys. They realize that they’re in a position where the games are really important and they really mean a lot. I think our sport is unique to the fact that there’s always another chance with the tournament, but I really do believe our guys know the standings and know the weight of every game now. The best part is, when you do win, it makes the next game even more important and that’s a great way to get through February and March.”

On bracketology and rankings:

“I think what guys understand is that that’s so temporary. There’s so much to do. From my point of view, it’s so temporary and things can change so quick no matter what side of the coin you’re on. Hopefully we’ve instilled a few things in our guys and that the only thing that’s important is the next game we play.”

Tyler Haws

On road swing:

“I think our intensity on defense, I feel like we’ve made strides there in our games at home, so we have to find a way to bring that intensity on the road. We just need to play loose and play like we can at home.”

On grinding out games:

“We have to take that mentality on the road. It feels like on the road every game is a grind-it-out game, so it feels good to be in one of those games and come out on top. We have that experience under our belt and we’re going to have to be ready to play these next two games.”

On winning games during final stretch:

“I think just continuing to get better every day in practice and taking care of your body. We just want to win games and we can’t worry too much about [rankings] right now. We just have to focus on our next game.”

Eric Mika

On getting back on the road and physicality:

“I’m excited. We haven’t been out for a while and I think we’ve improved a lot. We got our feet under us again and I think we’re going to do well.”

“I think physically, we’re a lot better and we’re a lot healthier than we have been starting these road trips.”

“I think every game we play in this conference is going to be physical. The calls might be a little different, but no matter what, you’re going to get hit, so we can pretty much expect that.”

On last game against Pacific:

“They attempt the most 3-pointers out of any team in our conference and our conference is a 3-point shooting conference. Being on their home floor, they’re going to play well. We’re expecting a good game.”

This Week in the WCC

Feb 10, 2014 - Posted by knielsen at 2:11 pm | Updated: February 10, 2014 2:44 pm | Permalink

BYU men's basketball will take its final two-game road trip this week when it faces Pacific and Saint Mary's. The Cougars are on a four-game win streak and after taking over sole possession of second place will play the third game in three weeks with the No. 2 spot on the line Saturday against Saint Mary's.

The Gaels beat LMU and Pepperdine last week after losing at BYU on Feb. 1. Pacific is coming off a split of their four-game road swing where they lost to BYU and Pepperdine, but defeated San Diego and LMU.

Fun Facts

Matt Carlino leads the West Coast Conference in assist-to-turnover ratio at 4.0, which is 1.4 more than second place's Alec Wintering or Portland.

Stephen Holt, WCC Player of the Week, played all 45 minutes in Saint Mary's overtime win against Pepperdine on Saturday. Holt leads the conference in minutes played with 38.5 per game, nearly three minutes more than any other player.

A win over Pacific guarantees the Cougars a trip to the quarterfinals and saves BYU the possibility of playing in Thursday's opening round games in the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas on March 6. 

Speaking of the tournament, with a win against Pacific and Saint Mary's this week, BYU would put itself in prime position for the No. 2 seed in the WCC tournament. With a win over the Gaels, the Cougars would own the head-to-head tiebreaker over both Saint Mary's and San Francisco, the two teams right behind BYU in the standings. Most importantly it would put BYU on the opposite side of the bracket from Gonzaga.

Leaders

Standings Conference Overall
1. Gonzaga 11-1 21-4
2. BYU 9-4 17-9
3. Saint Mary's 8-4 18-7
4. San Francisco 8-5 15-10
5. Pepperdine 7-6 14-11
6. Portland 5-7 13-11
7. Pacific 4-8 13-10
8. San Diego 4-9 13-13
9. Santa Clara 4-9 11-15
10. Loyola Marymount 3-10 11-14
Scoring Team PPG
1. Tyler Haws BYU 26.1
2. Jared Brownridge Santa Clara 20.9
3. Brandon Clark Santa Clara 18.4
8. Kyle Collinsworth BYU 15.8
22. Eric Mika BYU 11.8
29. Matt Carlino BYU 10.5
Rebounding Team RPG
1. Ryan Nicholas Portland 8.8
2. Stacy Davis Pepperdine 8.3
3. Brad Waldow Saint Mary's 8.3
4. Nate Austin BYU 8.2
5. Kyle Collinsworth BYU 7.9
7. Eric Mika BYU 7.1
Assists Team APG
1. Anthony Ireland LMU 5.9
2. Christopher Anderson San Diego 5.1
3. Alec Wintering Portland 5.0
4. Kyle Collinsworth BYU 4.5
5. Matt Carlino BYU 4.3
Steals Team SPG
1. Kyle Collinsworth BYU 2.2
2. Anthony Ireland LMU 1.8
3. Brandon Clark Santa Clara 1.7
4. Matt Carlino BYU 1.6
National Scoring Team PPG
1. Antoine Mason Niagara 26.3
2. Doug McDermott Creighton 25.3
3. Tyler Haws BYU 24.5

Coming Up

Thursday, Feb. 13

Pepperdine at Gonzaga, 7 p.m. MST, ROOT Sports 

Loyola Marymount at Portland, 8 p.m., TheW.tv

BYU at Pacific, 9 p.m., ROOT Sports

San Diego at Saint Mary's, 9 p.m. MST, ESPNU

Saturday, Feb. 15

Pepperdine at Portland, 2 p.m. MST, TheW.tv

BYU at Saint Mary's, 6 p.m. MST ESPN2

Loyola Marymount at Gonzaga, 6 p.m. MST, ROOT Sports

San Diego at Pacific, 8 p.m. MST, TheW.tv

San Francisco at Santa Clara, 9 p.m. MST, ESPNU

BYU tops San Francisco 68-63

Feb 08, 2014 - Posted by Rachel Hawks at 9:07 pm | Updated: February 8, 2014 9:10 pm | Permalink

BYU let San Francisco jump ahead early in the second half. The Dons took a 37-34 lead on a pair of jumpers with 17:14 on the clock. A steal under the Dons’ basket with just under eight minutes to play led to a Carlino fastbreak attempt. Fouled on his way up, Carlino went to the line and made one of his free throws to tie the score 54-54.

Tyler Haws retook the lead for BYU on two free throws, and Nate Austin followed with a dunk to bring the lead to 59-55 with five minutes to go, part of a 7-0 run. The Cougars held on to end the game with a 68-63 victory.

BYU finished the game leading in rebounds 47-29 and had 20 points scored off rebounds. Haws scored 12 in the half to total 19, and Carlino scored all 11 of his points in the second half. 

Touchdown Club of Columbus names Taysom Hill among 2014 Players to Watch

Feb 07, 2014 - Posted by Brett Pyne at 10:50 am | Updated: February 7, 2014 10:53 am | Permalink

BYU quarterback Taysom Hill has been named one of the top college football players to watch in 2014 by the Touchdown Club of Columbus (Ohio). Hill is one of 12 players being recognized on the TDC 2014 Players to Watch list.

A junior in 2014, Hill and other selected recipients will be formally honored at the 59th Touchdown Club of Columbus Awards Banquet at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion in Columbus on Saturday.

A dual-threat signal caller from Pocatello, Idaho, Hill rushed for 1344 yards and passed for nearly 3000 yards as as sophomore in 2013. Under his leadership, BYU's newly installed offensive attack in 2013 ranked No. 14 in the nation in total offense and No. 10 in rushing offense. Hill's 259 yards rushing in the Cougars' win over Texas and 417 yards passing and 128 yards rushing in BYU's victory over Houston rank among the nation's best overall performances of the season.

The Touchdown Club of Columbus will also honor Pro Football Hall of Fame inductee Dave Robinson, 2013 Sammy Baugh Award recipient Derek Carr and Chic Harley Award winner Jordan Lynch, in addition to a number of other local and national award recipients.

Visit www.tdccolumbus.com for additional information.

BYU beats Santa Clara 89-76

Feb 06, 2014 - Posted by Justin Green at 11:18 pm | Updated: February 7, 2014 12:12 am | Permalink

Tyler Haws had 27 points and five rebounds to lead BYU to an 89-76 victory over Santa Clara. Eric Mika recorded 15 points and 10 rebounds for his third double-double of the year. Kyle Collinsworth had 18 points and Skyler Halford pitched in 12.

The Cougars started the half on a 12-3 run to push the lead to 20, highlighted by 3-pointers from Halford and Matt Carlino. Haws had four points in the run. The lead hovered around 20 until a dunk by Collinsworth and three points from Mika extended the BYU advantage to 25 at 83-58.

The Broncos finished the game on an 18-4 run in garbage time for the final margin. 

BYU leads 53-40 at half

Feb 06, 2014 - Posted by Justin Green at 10:08 pm | Updated: February 6, 2014 10:22 pm | Permalink

Behind 17 points from Tyler Haws and 11 each from Kyle Collinsworth and Eric Mika, the Cougars took a 13-point advantage into the half over the Broncos.  Mika also contributed six rebounds.

Both teams started cold from the floor and the Cougars battled to an 11-10 lead with 15 minutes left in the half. Back-to-back buckets from Haws pushed the lead to 18-12. Luke Worthington contributed four points in the early going. Skyler Halford’s 3-pointer extended the lead to 11 at 25-14. Mika spun baseline for a reverse dunk with just under 10 minutes to maintain a 10-point lead.

After BYU took a 13-point lead on Frank Bartley’s layup, Santa Clara went on a quick 6-0 run to cut the deficit to seven with five minutes to play in the half. Mika scored seven of the next 12 BYU points to fuel a 13-2 run to give the Cougars a 51-33 lead, their largest of the half. The Broncos finished the half on a 7-2 run for the halftime score, 53-40.