BYU loses to Saint Mary’s in physical game


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It was like a hockey game on a basketball court with bodies slamming into each other, and players hitting the floor throughout the hard-fought game between the BYU and Saint Mary’s men’s basketball teams on Saturday at the Marriott Center.

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Brandon Davies reacts after a call by the refs Saturday night at the Marriott Center. BYU lost to St. Mary's 80-66.
The Cougars (18-6, 6-3 West Coast Conference) were outplayed in almost every category, as they lost to the No. 20 Gaels 80-66 in the rematch of the two schools. Both teams played extremely physical, committing a total of 48 fouls for the entire game, including one flagrant foul, an intentional foul and two technicals. Both teams were active defensively, contesting every shot and causing several turnovers.

“I think that both teams competed really well,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “I was really concerned about how hard we could play. Defensively, we were able to handle it better than offensively. We got them in some real difficult spots, and were able to turn them over but we weren’t able to take that energy and emotion and then calm down and execute offensively like we needed to.”

Saint Mary’s (21-2, 10-0) pulled away late in the first half with a 10-0 run to put the Gaels up by double digits in the first half with a 40-28 lead. Senior guard Clint Steindl led the attack in the first half with 14 points on 4-for-6 shooting from beyond the arc.

“We relied on zone a lot lately in these games,” senior forward Noah Hartsock said. “[Steindl] came in and hit those 3s and they did a great job of spacing the floor and using the time. So we had to go back to man-to-man.”

In the second half, the Gaels took their largest lead of 23 points and looked to put away the Cougars early in the half. But then freshman guard Matt Carlino took control of the game, scoring nine straight points for BYU and bringing the Cougars within nine.

“They were just calling my number a little bit more there at the end,” Carlino said. “I think both teams were playing really hard. We were going really fast and up tempo.”

While Carlino pulled the Cougars within single digits, St. Mary’s, aided by a technical on BYU coach Dave Rose, held off the BYU rally late.

The 3-point shooting woes continued for the Cougars, as they shot only 15.4 percent from beyond the arc compared with 38.9 percent from the Gaels. Saint Mary’s shot 55.8 percent from the floor for the entire game, which was almost the exact same percentile they shot in the first match-up of the teams in December.

“They’re a really physical team,” Rose said. “Their physical presence caused us to rush things a little, but we had a lot of good looks that we didn’t make too.”

The Cougars have shot just 11-for-73 from beyond the arc in the last four games, for a 15 percent average.

“We just need to knock them down,” Carlino said. “Sometimes teams go through droughts. Ours is coming at a tough spot, but we have some great shooters. We’ll be fine.”

Hartsock and Carlino each had 15 points, while junior forward Brandon Davies added 14 points and seven rebounds for the Cougars.

Junior guard Matthew Dellavedova was held scoreless in the first half for the Gaels, but had 10 second half points. Freshman forward Brad Waldow led all scorers with 19 points and eight rebounds, while Steindl had 16 and senior forward Rob Jones added 13.

The Cougars are off until Thursday, Feb. 2 when they host Gonzaga at the Marriott Center, in another big WCC matchup.

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