For three cold nights 21-year-old Arielle Harrison and her friends slept on the wet pavement outside the Marriott Center hoping to secure a seat in the front row and score a few seconds on ESPN. The Cougars and the Cyclones didn’t disappoint them.
“Once you stand on the front row, going to the games and being somewhere else is not even appealing to me,” Harrison said. “I hate being there and not being on the front row just because it is a completely different experience.”
No matter where the seats were located during BYU’s game against No. 21 Iowa State, it was an experience worth having. The game came down to the last nail-biting play. The Cougars were down two points with the ball and had three seconds to make something happen. Kyle Collinsworth had a good look at the buzzer but was unable to place the ball in the hoop to tie it up.
“I thought it was a hard fought battle,” head coach Dave Rose said. “We had quite a few chances there at the end to make a few plays and win the game. They were just a little bit better with their execution late in the game.”
For the majority of the game, the Cougars held the lead. With 5:54 left in the second half Matt Thomas scored a long three to put the Cyclones up for the first time since the score was 18-17.
“I think we rebounded the ball well for 30 minutes and then the tide changed a little bit,” Rose said. “We had some opportunities at the free-throw line we didn’t capitalize on. Our guys know that was a real winnable game for us. We just came up a little short.”
Tyler Haws helped keep the game close after sitting out two games. Haws contributed a team-high of 20 points. Matt Carlino added 19 points, four rebounds, and seven assists. Collinsworth had 11 points and nine rebounds.
Eric Mika was a big part of the Cougars’ initial run in the first half. He scored the first six points for the Cougars and helped with offensive rebounds. Mika was injured twice in the game. The second injury was a result of Deandre Kane drilling him in the face. Kane was called for a flagrant foul on the play and kicked out of the game.
“I don’t think it got away from us,” Haws said. “We knew we had a chance to win the game. We had our chances down the stretch we just didn’t make the plays we needed to.”
This game marks the first loss of the season for BYU. They will play their next two games at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, MO in a tournament with the first game against Texas and the second against either Wichita State or DePaul.