(Photo by Jaren Wilkey/BYU Photo)
PROVO, Utah – BYU men’s basketball was defeated by Saint Mary’s College in a West Coast Conference matchup, 80-66, in the Marriott Center on Saturday.
“It was a really hard fought game from both teams and both played really well,” BYU head coach Dave Rose. “I think Saint Mary’s played terrific, especially in that first half by spreading us out and having multiple players make big shots and big plays. In the second half, it seemed like every time we had a chance to get back in it they made a big play and took it away again.”
Matt Carlino and Noah Hartsock led the Cougars with 15 points each, followed closely by Brandon Davies who scored 14 points in the loss. Davies led the team in rebounds with seven.
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Davies brought the Marriott Center faithful to their feet in the first play of the game as he delivered the one-handed slam to give the Cougars their first points of the game. Davies and Hartsock would combine for 18 of BYU’s 28 first-half points. The game was close initially with five tied scores in the opening minutes but there was only one lead change and once the Gaels took it they never gave it back.
The Saint Mary’s defense and strong three-point shooting caused problems for BYU early on. The Gael’s Clint Steindl came off the bench and instantly provided a spark, shooting 4 for 4 from long-range and scoring 14 first half points.
Hot shooting by Saint Mary’s continued to be a problem for BYU throughout the remainder of the game as the Gaels shot 55.8% from the field. Freshman Brad Waldow scored in the paint with a lay-in with 4:11 remaining in the first half to give the Gael’s their largest lead of the half with the score 32-20. Several fouls were called in the final minutes of the half and Saint Mary’s went into the locker room with a 40-28 lead.
In the opening seconds of the second half the Gaels were able to score five quick points. BYU was whistled for a technical foul due to the crowd throwing debris on the court and Saint Mary’s was able to convert the two free throw shots followed by a trey to take a 45-28 lead just 14 seconds into the second half.
This proved to be a game-changing string of events as the Gaels continued to extend their lead taking their largest lead of the night, 57-34 off a jumper by Rob Jones with 16:45 remaining.
Disputed calls continued to be made both ways including technical fouls on both sides but a Craig Cusick trey with 11:52 remaining cut the St. Mary’s lead to 14 with the score 59-45. The Cougars were able to chip the Gael lead away to 10 with 4:02 remaining, and the score 70-60, thanks in large part to the penetration of freshman guard Matt Carlino who scored eight points in the paint within a three minute span. Carlino scored six consecutive field goals for BYU and would cut the lead to nine twice but the Cougars were ultimately unable to overcome the deficit.
BYU will look to bounce back at home against Gonzaga on Feb. 2 at 9 p.m. MST in the Marriott Center. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 and KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM.