BYU takes No. 6 Baylor to the wire

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No. 6-ranked Baylor overcame a 13-point deficit to defeat BYU 86-83 on Saturday, Dec. 17, in front of a sellout crowd in the Marriott Center.

BYU had a last-second chance to tie the game, but Brandon Davies’ 3-point attempt was blocked by 5-foot-10 Baylor guard Pierre Jackson.

“I had no doubt in my mind that that was going in if I would have got the shot off,” Davies said. “They made a great defensive play. . .  I had no idea where he came from. I didn’t see him at all. The clock was winding down and obviously I could have made a better play but unfortunately we didn’t get the shot off and came up with the loss.”

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BYU guard Brock Zylstra (13) is defended on a shot by Baylor forward Quincy Miller (30) during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011.
BYU fell behind early in the game before going on two separate scoring runs. The first was an 11-0 run sparked by senior forward Noah Hartsock while the second was a 9-0 run led by freshman guard Damarcus Harrison, who hit a long 3-pointer and had a fast break dunk. After the second scoring run, BYU held a 36-24 lead.

BYU extended their lead to 13 points when freshman guard Matt Carlino, making his college basketball debut, hit a 3-pointer to make the Cougar lead 41-28 with 2:30 remaining in the first half.

That 3-point field goal, however, was the last basket the Cougars made before halftime, as Baylor went on a 10-1 run, highlighted by an alley-oop dunk to preseason All-American Perry Jones III.

The teams entered the locker room with BYU holding only a four point lead, with the score 42-38.

BYU came out of the locker room looking to stretch the lead back to where it was in the first half. Charles Abouo scored eight points in the early minutes of the second half and Carlino hit multiple jump shots, giving the Cougars a 64-56 lead with 12 minutes left in the game.

Baylor, however, would not go away. The Bears scored 12 straight points, including six straight from Jones, and retook the lead on that run for the first time since the 12 minute mark in the first half. Baylor continued to stretch their lead, being up by as many as nine with five minutes remaining.

As the game wound down, the Cougars came back behind the play of Carlino and Abouo, and were down by just one with one minute to go. With the ball and down by one, Carlino attempted to pass the ball into the corner, but had his pass stolen. Jones then went to the other end other end of the court and put back a missed shot with 20 seconds to go to make the Baylor lead three.

With 10 seconds remaining, Carlino took a 3-point shot and had the ball go in-and-out.

“It was an open look, I had to take it, I should have made it. I thought it was in, but they don’t all go in,” Carlino said. “I turned the ball over and missed a shot at the end. So with those things, if I could have done those better, we might have had a chance to win.”
BYU quickly fouled A.J. Walton to stop the clock. Walton went to the free-throw line and missed the front end of the 1-and-1, giving the Cougars one last chance before Davies’ last second shot was blocked.
Even with the loss, the Cougars took some positives from the game.
“I think that we showed that we can play with anyone,” Davies said. “It was just a battle out there and they came out on top.”
Rose agreed with Davies, and hopes the team can use this game as a building block toward the future.
“Our guys are really disappointed, and they should be, because they believed they could come in here and win the game and we were close,” he said. “There were a lot of really great things that came out of the game, but when you don’t win it’s hard to see that…You want to win the game but for our team and our situation for where we are right now, I think that was a really good effort. We’re not pleased by any means with the result, but we can build on that.”

Davies led the Cougars on the night with 18 points and 13 rebounds. Carlino also scored 18 points in his BYU debut.

Rose was pleased with Carlino’s first game for the Cougars and thinks his future will be bright as he gains experience.

“He needs experience. I think it’s what all young players need, to be in those situations,” Rose said. “I can remember a few years ago in a game up at Utah and we had a wide open three right down the middle from Jimmer to win the game, and we missed it, went into overtime and lossed. And what made him better? He just needed experience. You get guys in those situations and you want them to experience the moment.”

The Cougars host Buffalo next on Tuesday, Dec. 20,  at 7 p.m. in the Marriott Center.

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