BYU 81, UTSA 62: Cougars get back on track at home

Alex Trautwig

After a tough weekend in Brooklyn, the Cougars return to Provo and take care of business against UTSA led by Brandon Davies and Tyler Haws.

During the pregame intro, play-by-play announcer Dave McCann mentioned that the Cougars needed the boost that only the Marriott Center could provide: better three point shooting, more transition buckets, and a chance to get back on track after a rough weekend in Brooklyn. His preamble was prophetic as the Cougars felt right at home and blasted the Texas-San Antonio Roadrunners 81-62.

The best sign: 26 minutes from Brandon Davies, which led to 22 points and 10 boards. The downside: the senior postman was a little sloppy with the ball, responsible for 6 of BYU's 18 turnovers. But Davies' offensive and defensive play was too much for the undersized Roadrunners, despite a workman's effort by 6-4 big Larry Wilkins of UTSA, who consistently pushed Davies out of the low post, but was unable to really derail the Cougar big man.

Tyler Haws continued his remarkable run to start his post-mission sophomore season, scoring 20 points for the 5th straight game. The 6-5 wingman also added 6 rebounds and 3 assists.

The most surprising contribution was from senior guard Craig Cusick: 29 minutes, 5 assists, 7 points, 8 rebounds, and good defense against UTSA senior guard Michael Hale.

Cusick's minutes came at the expense of sophomore point guard Matt Carlino, who continued his struggles with a 1-for-8 shooting night in just 10 minutes of play. The talented lefty didn't even start the second half and played sparingly and ineffectively throughout. On the season, Carlino is shooting just 10-for-36 from the floor, and is averaging 5 PPG, way below his 2011-12 average of 12.2 PPG.

From a team perspective, the Cougars found their three-point stroke again, connecting on 6-of-14 behind the arc, and they out-rebounded the Roadrunners a remarkable 46-18. The visitors from the WAC only managed one offensive rebound the entire game.

The Cougars play next on Saturday night, hosting Cal State Northridge at 7 p.m. MST on BYUtv. The most important story of the night may not even be on the court, as all-world recruit Jabari Parker will be in attendance.

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