No. 12 Wichita State (7-0) led by sophomore guard Ron Baker held off BYU (5-2) in the second-half with a final score of 62-75 in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic Championship at the Sprint Center in Kansas City, Mo.
BYU led by as much as 13 in the first half but lacked the energy and shooting it needed to beat a team that made an appearance in the Final Four last season.
“Field goals in the second half for us were really tough to come by,” said BYU men’s basketball head coach Dave Rose. “Give a lot of credit to Wichita State. It’s a very good defensive team.”
Matt Carlino, starting at the guard position, was the top scorer for the Cougars, finishing the game with 21 points and six rebounds. Junior guard Tyler Haws, who struggled in the first half, finished with 17 points, shooting a hundred percent from the charity-stripe. Nate Austin, who was ejected from the court with a flagrant call, left with 12 rebounds and two blocks.
Many fans hoped Haws’ s momentum from his explosive second-half against Texas, in which he finished with 25 points, would carry over against Wichita State.
Foul trouble plagued BYU late in the first half with multiple key players, including freshman forward Eric Mika, picking up at least two fouls.
On the opposite end of the court, the Cougars struggled at the free-throw line as a team throughout the first half. Guard Kyle Collinsworth failed to capitalize on two free throws after a taking a tough charge from a Shocker charging in the lane.
Carlino had 18 points by the half, and the Cougars entered the second-half leading 36-34.
Haws hit his first field goal at the 18:50 mark second half, sparking energy into his team.
Despite the efforts of Haws, foul trouble continued with Mika picking up his third foul at the 17-minute mark, and Wichita State continued to reap in the free throws. By the 9:25 mark, Mika had his fourth foul with Collinsworth following suit, picking up his fourth with under eight minutes to go.
The game remained close until an elbow from Austin to Baker’s face with 45.3 seconds left on the clock caused Austin to leave the court and sent Baker to the free throw line.
Baker sealed the game with consecutive free throws, and the Shockers continued their winning streak.
“You kind of chalk it up to we’ve got to be better,” Rose said. “The game was right there late to win, and we were a few plays short.”
BYU will play Utah State this Saturday at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City at 7 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on BYUtv and on the Cougar IMG Sports Network on KSL Newsradio 102.7 FM/1160 AM.