PROVO, Utah – Senior Brandon Davies led the BYU basketball team with 28 points as they improved to 2-0 on the year by defeating the Georgia State Panthers 80-62 in the Acura Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on Tuesday night at the Marriott Center.
“I’m really proud of our team tonight," said BYU head coach Dave Rose. "The guys were really good in their preparation. We came out and we guarded really well. We obviously made a majority of our shots to start the game and I think it actually surprised all of us that the score was what it was early. I was really proud of how our guys took the challenge to attack this team. They got it done on both ends of the court.”
Davies also grabbed nine rebounds, dished out three assists and tallied three blocks and two steals en route to the victory. Sophomore Tyler Haws added 22 points, including four 3-pointers, a season-high seven rebounds and five assists.
As a team BYU shot 51.7 percent from the field, 40.0 percent from three and 83.3 percent from the free throw line. The Cougars limited Georgia State to 26.5 percent shooting from the field and 13.6 percent shooting from downtown.
The game began with Haws scoring on back-to-back 3-pointers. Davies then added six points and senior Brock Zylstra chipped in three more to contribute to a 15-0 lead to start the game. Three minutes later, the Cougars held a 25-2 lead.
Eight minutes into the first half, sophomore point guard Matt Carlino had consecutive steals which led to easy layups to bring the score to 29-2. Carlino chipped in 11 points, seven assists and tied his career-high with four steals.
After another basket by Haws with 10:32 left in the half, BYU’s starters had accounted for the first 31 points on 13 for 16 shooting, including 5 for 5 from three.
Later in the half, the Panthers benefitted from full-court pressure by breaking double digits with a 16-4 run to cut the lead to 44-26 at the end of the half.
BYU held Georgia State to 26 percent shooting in the first period, including 16 percent from behind the arc, and dominated the battle in the paint by outscoring the Panthers 22-6.
"The start killed us tonight," said Georgia State head coach Ron Hunter. "One of the reasons we wanted to play here and we wanted to play at Duke was to show our young guys what it’s all about. I thought that BYU was ready to go early. We were shell-shocked and had to settle down."
Georgia State trailed by as much as 29 points in the second half but was able to cut the lead to 11 at 56-45 with 9:06 remaining. Carlino pushed the ball down the court and passed to Haws who drove into the lane and kicked it back to Carlino for a three. On the other end, Davies blocked a would-be Panther dunk which led to a Sharp tip-in to extend BYU’s lead to 61-45.
Leading 65-51, the Cougars went on an 8-0 run to put the game out of reach. Davies started and ended the run with jumpers while Carlino hit one of his own and found Josh Sharp under the basket for a dunk. BYU achieved its first 20-point lead since the 15-minute mark in the second half when Davies hit two free throws to make the score 75-54 with 2:54 remaining.
The Cougars will continue to compete in the Acura Coaches vs. Cancer Classic as they travel to New York to take on Florida State at the new Barclays Center on Friday. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. EST. The game will be broadcast live on truTV and KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM and 1160 AM and KSL.com.