By Tyler Webb
The Cougars lost to UC Santa Barbara 68-58 in a tough road loss Wednesday, Nov. 28.
The Gauchos held the Cougars to six field goals in the second half. The high-scoring trio of Travis Hansen, Eric Nielsen, and Mark Bigelow shot 10 for 33 for the game.
Technical fouls killed the Cougars” chances to win the game. The first foul came with 1:20 remaining in the first half.
The Cougars were clinging to a seven-point lead, when head coach Steve Cleveland picked up a technical foul.
“The technical fouls were very untimely for us tonight,” Cleveland said.
The Gauchos converted the free throws. They then stole the ball and scored a lay-up, cutting the Cougar lead to three points.
The second technical foul came with six minutes remaining in the game. Hansen got into a scuffle and received a technical foul.
The Gauchos again hit the free throws to cut the Cougar lead to one. The fans and players got fired up, and BYU lost all momentum.
Mark Hull took over for the Gauchos, scoring 23 points for the game.
BYU was led in scoring by Bigelow”s 15 points. However, he had only three points in the second half.
A bright spot for the Cougars was the play of freshmen center Jared Jensen. Jensen chipped in 14 points and 6 rebounds.
“I just need to step up and play my game even better,” Jensen said. “I”ve got to get into the role I have been assigned.”
BYU”s other big man, Eric Nielsen, was a non-factor in the game. He was in foul trouble most of the night, and contributed only three points.
“We need Nielsen to make a contribution on the road,” Cleveland said.
Bigelow, BYU”s leading scorer, had 12 points on four three-pointers in the first half. The Gauchos went to a zone defense, and held the Cougars to only one three-pointer in the second half.
Coach Cleveland said the team can”t shoot that bad on the road and expect to win any games this season.
The Cougars will have a much tougher opponent in their next road game.
The Cougars travel to Logan to take on the Utah State Aggies on Saturday, Dec. 1.
The Aggies were one of the toughest defensive teams in the nation last year. The Aggies are undefeated heading into the game, while the Cougars are now 2-1.