LAS VEGAS — No. 3 seed BYU men’s basketball fell to No. 2 seed and No. 19/18 ranked Saint Mary’s 81-50 in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference Championships as the Gaels hot-shooting proved to be too much for the Cougars on Monday night at the Orleans Arena.
"We were a couple steps slow in everything we did," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "We had a difficult time making a basket to start the game. This is a young team that gets a lot of energy from scoring points, and it’s hard to score against these guys. The guys played hard for a while, but I am disappointed in how we responded to challenges early in the first half."
Yoeli Childs scored the first Cougar basket after an early 4-0 Gael run. Both teams struggled to find their groove offensively as BYU began the game shooting 1 of 8, while Saint Mary’s started 2 of 7.
The Cougars trailed by 10, 12-2, before Bryant scored a tough left-handed layup followed by a 3-point play by Haws to bring BYU within seven, 14-7.
After Saint Mary’s stretched its lead to 14, 25-11, Haws drained a deep 3-pointer to end BYU’s three-minute scoring drought. With 4:21 to go in the half, Haws hit his second 3 to bring the Cougars within eight, 25-17.
The Gaels responded with six-straight points from Jock Landale and a trey from Calvin Hermanson to take the 34-19 lead with 1:48 on the clock. BYU trailed Saint Mary’s 36-20 after 20 minutes of play.
Saint Mary’s opened the half shooting 4 of 4 from the floor to achieve the 45-22 advantage. After a layup by Mika, the Gaels went on 12-2 run to take the 31-point 57-26 lead.
At the 10:33 mark, Davin Guinn hit his second of back-to-back treys to match two 3s from Evan Fitzner. Saint Mary’s went 7 of 9 from 3-point line to start the second half.
After a Saint Mary’s bucket, Nick Emery found Mika for the dunk to make the score 73-42. The Gaels shot 70.8 percent from the floor in the second half.
BYU men’s basketball awaits a potential postseason bid that would be announced on Sunday.