PROVO, Utah – Despite a career-high 28 points from senior Noah Hartsock the BYU men’s basketball team lost its first home West Coast Conference game 82-68 against Loyola Marymount Thursday at the Marriott Center.
"Loyola played a great game against us," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "I thought they defended us really well and contested almost every pass and every shot. They had a good defensive game plan that made it really hard for us to get the ball in the post."
Hartsock hit 10 of his 14 shots to lead the game in scoring. Junior Brandon Davies joined Hartsock in double figures with 14 points and nine rebounds. Senior Charles Abouo also hit double digits with 10 points.
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Poor shooting doomed the Cougars as the team shot just 2 of 25 (8%) from beyond the arc and 23 of 60 (38.3%) from the field. BYU also lost the rebound battle to the Lions by a margin of 42-33.
Offensive struggles marred the first half for the Cougars as the team shot 0 of 12 from three-point range and 6 of 12 from the free throw line. Hartsock hit six of his seven first half shots for 15 points but the remainder of the team managed just five makes in 24 field goal attempts.
BYU held the lead early behind Hartsock’s strong post play but lost the lead when LMU went on an 8-0 run that made the score 25-19 with 6:35 remaining. The Cougars responded with a 6-0 run that culminated with a three-point play by Abouo.
Following the short Cougar run, the Lions scored seven straight to build up a 34-28 halftime lead. The deficit marked the first time this season the Cougars have trailed at halftime in the Marriott Center.
Hartsock scored eight of the first 10 points for BYU to open the second half much like the first. Despite Hartsock’s scoring, the Lions extended the lead to double digits at 46-36 in the first three minutes of the half.
The Cougars narrowed the lead to two several times, including at 61-59 with just over four minutes remaining, but were never able to completely close the gap. LMU outscored the Cougars 21-9 in the final four minutes to secure the road victory.
"Our guys fought through their defense and we had a chance in the second half," Rose said. "But every time we went on a run they responded with a big play."
BYU will take on Pepperdine on Saturday in Malibu in the first of two games against the Waves this season. The game is slated to tipoff at 5:00 p.m. PST and will be broadcast live on BYUtv and KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM.