SAN FRANCISCO – Freshman Matt Carlino scored the final of his career-high 30 points on a game-winning layup with 18.9 seconds remaining to lead the BYU men’s basketball team to an 85-84 victory over the San Francisco Dons.
The Cougars (22-6, 10-3) led the entire game until USF (17-11, 7-7) took its first lead at 84-83 with 41 seconds remaining. The Dons went on an 11-2 run in the final three minutes to take the late lead.
USF had a chance to extend its lead but missed the front end of a one-and-one. BYU snagged the rebound and Carlino immediately attacked the basket on the other end and hit the layup to give BYU back the lead. The Dons had two chances to win the game but missed both of their final shot attempts.
"I think both teams played really well," head coach Dave Rose said. "Tonight we watched players trying to figure out ways that they can help their team win. I thought both teams shared the ball well, shot the ball well and we made one more play. That's what it came down to."
Carlino became the first Cougar this season to score 30 points in a game. He shot 13 of 19 from the field, 4 of 7 from three and scored 22 points in the first half, including 20 in the first eight minutes of play. Senior Noah Hartsock added 16 points while Charles Abouo scored 15.
Carlino paced the Cougars early in the game by hitting eight of his first nine shots for 20 of BYU’s first 30 points. After a turnover on its first possession, BYU scored its next eight possessions to build an early 18-9 lead, but the Dons countered by making 56.7 percent of their shots in the half.
USF did not lead in the half but narrowed the margin to one with an 11-1 run that made the score 31-30 with 8:29 remaining. The Cougars followed that with one of their two 7-0 runs in the half to extend the lead to 38-30.
Abouo hit one of his two first half treys to give BYU an eight-point lead with just under four minutes left in the half. The Cougars finished the half with a season high in first half points and a 49-44 lead.
Hartsock and Carlino each scored eight points in the second half to lead BYU. The Cougars held an 81-73 lead with 3:46 remaining before USF went on its run to take the late lead.
"This was a really important game for us in the way that it played out," Rose said. "Going in to start the game it is important but when it got how it was going we lost the lead and had to come back and win. This team hasn’t done that yet."
The Cougars continue their WCC schedule with a game at Santa Clara on Saturday at 4 p.m. PST. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU and KSL 102.7 FM and 1160 AM.