PROVO, Utah – In an entertaining game from start to finish, the BYU men’s basketball team gave No. 6/7 Baylor all it could handle before falling 86-83 in front of a sellout crowd of 22,700 on Saturday.
Down by one with less than a minute remaining, the Cougars just missed out on a fast break opportunity when a tipped ball found its way back to the Bears who then scored on a tip-in follow off a missed basket. On the ensuing BYU possession, freshman Matt Carlino’s 3-point attempt went in and out of the basket and Baylor took possession.
After a quick foul by the Cougars, the Bears had a chance to ice the game with seconds remaining on a one-and-one at the free throw line but missed. BYU forward Brandon Davies had another chance at 3-point attempt, but the try was blocked, ending the game.
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“I thought our team competed really hard and played hard,” said BYU coach Dave Rose. "I also think that Baylor made some terrific plays, especially down the stretch. we competed and had quite a few chances but just came up short."
Davies scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, including five offensive, in 36 minutes of play for BYU. Coming off the bench, Carlino also scored 18 with four treys in his BYU and collegiate debut.
"It was a great atmosphere," Carlino said. "The fans were amazing. It was a good game, but I play to win so it was disappointing."
Perry Jones III led all scorers with 28 points on 11 of 16 shooting to go with eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.
BYU (8-3) led the game from the 12-minute mark of the first half until 10 minutes remaining in the game after a 9-0 run by Baylor (9-0). Jones made the last three baskets of the run, the last giving the Bears a 65-64 lead.
After pounding the ball inside for most of the second half, Baylor used four treys in the span of three minutes to take a 79-70 lead with five minutes left, but the Cougars weren’t done yet. BYU scored six-straight points before narrowing the lead to one, 82-81, on a 3-point basket by Carlino.
BYU again came within one at 84-83 after a layup by Charles Abouo, but the Cougars couldn’t get one more basket to fall.
The Bears’ four late 3-pointers were just some of Baylor’s 13 total treys, including six conversions by guard Brady Heslip that kept Baylor from fading early. BYU shot 7 of 21 from beyond the arc.
Abouo finished the game with 17 points, including eight in the first four minutes of the second half, shooting 7 of 10 with nine boards. Also in double figures was Noah Hartsock with 15 points.
Down by a score of 8-4 early, Davies brought the already loud crowd to a fever pitch after grabbing an offensive rebound, going across the paint and throwing down a one-handed dunk over two Baylor players.
After making 6 of 8 from the floor to start the game, Baylor began to struggle with the BYU defense, setting up the Cougars’ offense to go on an 11-0 run and turn an 18-13 deficit to a 24-18 lead with nine minutes left in the half. The Bears went almost five minutes without a point during that span.
The Cougar lead jumped to 12 points with just over four minutes remaining on back-to-back 3-pointers by Damarcus Harrison and Brock Zylstra, a fadeaway jumper by Hartsock and a breakaway slam by Harrison, bringing the score to 36-24.
Despite the great first half, BYU didn’t coast into the halftime break. Three fouls, three turnovers and three missed field goals coupled with baskets by the Bears' bench players resulted in a 10-1 run that cut BYU’s lead to 42-38 at the break.
Surprisingly, BYU's big men outdid Baylor's in the first half, showing off their own size and athleticism. The Cougars outscored the Bears 16-8 in the paint and 6-2 on fast breaks while out-dunking Baylor, 3-1. For the game, BYU outscored Baylor 41-24 in the paint and 11-2 on fast breaks.
BYU will play Buffalo in the Marriott Center on Tuesday, Dec. 20 at 7 p.m. with live broadcasts on BYUtv and KSL Radio.
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