BYU’s “Big 3” combined for a total of 79 points to lead the team to a 90–79 victory over the Washington Huskies in the first round of NIT on Tuesday night.
“I thought it was just a great game, a great atmosphere,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “The crowd was really vocal, and there was a really good vibe and energy in the building … It was a battle between two teams, and I think we were playing to win. I’m really proud of our guys because I think that our effort was maybe as good as it’s been all year.”
Brandon Davies finished the game with 22 points, nine rebounds and two blocks, and Matt Carlino flirted with a triple-double with 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds. Carlino made 4 of 8 from behind the arc, a couple coming from “Jimmer-range,” and scored 18 points and made nine assists in the second half.
“I think Matty really took control of the game,” Rose said. “His ability to push the ball and he made some great passes in transition … We needed that leadership from (the point-guard position) down the stretch to win that game.”
Tyler Haws set BYU’s NIT single-game record with a game-high 37 points and became one of five Cougars to score at least 700 points in a single season.
“Ty was outstanding,” Rose said. “He was so consisten t… our point-guards did a great job finding him in transition. Thirty-seven points is a lot, but you just kind of expect him to carry a big load offensively, and he did that tonight.”
The Cougars’ transition game came out on top, despite being down two points at the half, as they finished with 12 fast-break points to UW’s two. UW coach Lorenzo Romar credited BYU’s ability to run in transition and score.
“We played against a team tonight that was very good in transition,” Romar said. “We knew that (BYU) could get out and run … give them a lot of credit, they did a good job.”
Huskies’ guard C.J. Wilcox, coming back to his home state, led his team with a team-high 20 points but couldn’t outscore the Cougars. Haws played against Wilcox in high school and wasn’t surprised with Wilcox’s ability to score.
“C.J.’s a competitor, and he wants to win,” Haws said. “You can’t leave him no matter where he is on the court. He’s always a threat from wherever he is.”
BYU (22–11) crashed the boards, outrebounding Washington (18–16) 43 to 34, and hit the deck for 50-50 balls to put on an efficient second-half. BYU shot 58.3 percent from the field that came in an array of jumpers, lay-ups and dunks. Haws said his team had a good week of practice and wanted to continue to play basketball this season.
The Cougars put all they had on the court knowing it was a win-or-go-home game.
“We were hungry, and we wanted to win this game and just continue to advance in this tournament,” Haws said. “I’m just happy with the way our guys responded (to UW’s runs), and we just kept fighting and battling and kept our lead to the very end.”
No. 3 BYU will advance to the second round of the NIT and host No. 7 Mercer at the Marriott Center on Monday, March 25. Tip-off will be at 7 p.m MST and ESPNEWS will be broadcasting the game.