Zylstra Scores 26 vs. Italian National Team

(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

A day after facing the Greek National Team, BYU men’s basketball faced the Italian National Team that featured three NBA stars on Wednesday. The Cougars held tough with the Italians — No. 15 in the FIBA rankings — in the first half before losing 102-63.

Junior guard Brock Zylstra was the star for BYU, pouring in 26 points to go with seven boards and three steals. He hit 10-of-16 from the field, 4-of-8 from three and 2-of-2 from the free throw line. Zylstra’s 15 first half points helped the Cougars trail by just seven at the half (43-36) and outscore Italy 22-20 in the second quarter.

Freshman Damarcus Harrison had one of his best games of the trip as he scored 12 points, hit two 3-pointers and registered two steals. Charles Abouo chipped in eight points four boards, two assists and two steals and Noah Hartsock added six points and 10 rebounds.

BYU got off to a strong start as Nick Martineau hit 2-of-2 from the line and Zylstra stole the ball and scored on a fast break layup. Stephen Rogers hit a three to give the Cougars their biggest lead at 7-3. Italy answered with a 14-0 run that was ended by a Zylstra three. Hartsock later hit two jumpers off Abouo asissts to make the score 21-14.

Trailing 23-14 to start the second period, BYU went on an 8-0 run to cut the Italian lead to one. Abouo scored the first four points and Zylstra scored on a tip-in. Josh Sharp hit two free throws for the last points in the run. Zylstra later hit back-to-back three to get within two at 36-34. Abouo later scored inside for BYU’s final points of the half.

Italy took advantage of its size and experience to pull away in the second half. The Italian squad featured three NBA players: Andrea Bargnani (Toronto Raptors, 7-0, 21.4 ppg), Danilo Gallinari (Denver Nuggets, 6-10, 15.6 ppg) and Marco Bellinelli (New Orleans Hornets, 6-5, 10.5 ppg).

BYU finished its trip with a 2-2 record. See results and stats (unofficial) below.

Date Score
Aug. 17 BYU 88, Athens All-Stars 56
Aug. 19 BYU 114, ASE Doukas 45
Aug. 23 Greek National Team 83, BYU 54
Aug. 24 Italian National Team 102, BYU 63
Stats Ppg Rpg
Zylstra 17.3 6.0
Abouo 14.8 8.3
Rogers 12.3 3.5
Hartsock 10.8 6.3
Harrison 9.3 1.0
Sharp 6.3 3.8
Martineau 3.5 1.0
Winder 3.3 3.5
Cusick 2.5 1.8