Cougars sink in The Pit

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    By Chad Newswander

    The Cougars lost their first conference game against New Mexico on Saturday 73-58.

    New Mexico snapped a four-game losing streak against the Cougars.

    The Lobos (12-4, 2-0) trailed the Cougars by one point at the half, but outscored BYU 42-26 (12-4, 2-1) in the last 20 minutes of the game.

    New Mexico controlled the second half with its defense and the play of junior guard Marlon Parmer.

    “The catalyst was the defense,” New Mexico”s head coach Fran Fraschilla said.

    The Lobos caused the Cougars to turn over the ball 13 times.

    Parmer, coming off a one-game suspension, scored 13 points and shot 60 percent from the floor. He also had six assists.

    “I am glad to be back,” Parmer said.

    His coach agreed and was happy to see how well he played.

    “This guy is one of the best players in the league,” Fraschilla said.

    The Lobos had four players score in double-digits and the team shot an overall 54 percent from the field.

    “We need to score more than 58 points on the road,” Cougar head coach Steve Cleveland said. “They made contested shots. You can”t let a home team shot 54 percent. We have to play better than that to win.”

    BYU led going into halftime 32-31. The second half was a different story.

    “We came out flat and tentative. The game got real emotional and it was tough,” freshman forward Jared Jensen said.

    Jensen led the way for the Cougars with 15 points. He shot 85 percent from the floor and had three rebounds.

    Senior forward Eric Nielsen also put up 10 points. The two big men for BYU scored 25 points.

    Senior guard Matt Montague dished out 11 assists and scored four points. He also turned the ball over three times.

    Meanwhile, junior guard Travis Hansen and sophomore forward Mark Bigelow scored a combined 12 points. Together, they shot 30 percent from the floor.

    Bigelow scored four points and was 28 percent from the floor. He also ended his 22 game streak of hitting at least one 3-pointer.

    The Cougars shot 23 percent from beyond the arc. They hit a combined three 3-pointers.

    The Cougars will not have much time to prepare for their second conference road game of the season this Monday at Air Force.

    “We don”t have a lot of prep time and everybody knows how difficult it is to play at Air Force,” Cleveland said. “It will be challenging.

    New Mexico recently beat Air Force 50-47.

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