PROVO, Utah — Despite double-figure scoring from three Cougars, BYU men’s basketball fell to No. 22/21 Saint Mary’s 70-57 at the Marriott Center on Saturday night.
"Obviously it was a very disappointing loss for us," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "I think our guys were ready to play and we had a plan. I thought we went after their big guys pretty well. We thought that if we could get them in foul trouble in the first half that we could maybe make a run for them. We got to their second and third post guys and we didn't take advantage of the opportunities we had."
The Cougars (19-10, 10-6 West Coast Conference) outrebounded the Gaels (24-3, 14-2 WCC) 37 to 32, while Saint Mary’s shot 47.2 percent from the field to BYU’s 39.7.
Eric Mika led the way for the Cougars with a game-high 18 points and five rebounds. Yoeli Childs finished the contest with 13 points and a game-high seven rebounds. TJ Haws tallied 11 points, going 1 of 3 from behind the arc.
Saint Mary's Calvin Hermanson led the Gaels with 17 points and six rebounds. Evan Fitzner also scored in double digits for Saint Mary's, finishing the game with 15 points.
The Cougars scored first to take the early 1-0 lead as Childs went 1 of 2 from the free throw line. Both teams then went back and forth trading baskets before Saint Mary’s jumped out to the four-point 11-7 lead.
BYU responded by scoring five-straight points, retaking the lead, 12-11, as Mika converted a 3-point play.
Saint Mary’s went on a run of its own, scoring four quick points. Elijah Bryant silenced the Gaels run with a trey to make the score 16-15 in Saint Mary’s favor with 12:34 left in the half.
After a 10-3 Gael run, Mika sank two free throws to bring BYU back within six, 26-20. On the next Cougar possession, Bryant hit his second 3 of the game, cutting the Saint Mary’s advantage to three, 26-23.
The Gaels continued to execute their efficient offensive attack to extend their lead to double digits, 38-28. Following a Childs finish at the basket for the Cougars, the Gaels pushed the lead to a 41-30 advantage going into halftime.
In the early going of the second half Mika brought the Cougars within single digits, 45-36, as the sophomore finished a running hook over Jock Landale.
Saint Mary’s continued to shoot well in the second half and pushed the lead to 18, 58-40, as the Gaels hit their ninth 3-point field goal of the contest. The Gaels increased their lead to a game-high 25 at the 7:25 mark in the second half.
A Childs dunk off of an assist by Nick Emery brought BYU within 17, 69-52, with 2:42 to go in the contest. The Cougars bench helped close the gap in the closing moments to the 13-point final margin.
BYU men’s basketball will travel to Portland to take on the Pilots Thursday, Feb. 23. Teams will tip off at 8 p.m. MST. The game will be televised on ROOT RM and broadcast on the Cougar IMG Sports Network, KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM and BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143. Links to media and live stats can be found on the BYU men’s basketball schedule page.