The BYU Cougars met a perfect storm of unfavorable factors, falling 88-70 to the Florida State Seminoles on Friday night in the first game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in Brooklyn.
The perfect storm? 1) Early Brandon Davies foul trouble, exiting very early with two fouls and having to sit the bench for too long. 2) Inability to cope with the ball pressure of Florida State's defense. 3) The Seminoles shot the lights out, and BYU couldn't hit.
Until garbage time, Florida State topped 60% field-goal shooting on the night. (It finished going 58% FG and 55% from three.) Even if BYU could have handled the pressure better and shot better than 33.8%, it's hard to imagine the Cougs keeping up with how the Seminoles were shooting.
After being down 7-10 points for most of the first half, BYU erased the deficit when Davies was able to re-enter the game. With seven minutes left in the first half, Davies scored a layup and two free throws, which were followed by a pair of Haws scores. When Brock Zylstra made a jumper with four minutes left in the half, the game was tied 34-34.
Unfortunately, that was as close as it would get the rest of the night. A pair of three-pointers helped Florida State to a 10-1 run to close the half. In an early stretch of the second half, even when Davies was outrunning FSU's big men, the Seminoles made three of four consecutive three-point attempts to go up 13.
Brandon Davies and Tyler Haws scored 19 each to lead the Cougars, combining to go 14-30 from the floor. All other BYU players shot a combined 11-44 (gulp), including an 0-8 performance from Matt Carlino. The team shot just 6-27 (22%) from behind the arc.
Zylstra and Craig Cusick pitched in 12 and 10 points each.
After getting down 27 in the second half, a unit of Cory Calvert, Cusick, Haws, Zylstra, and Davies made a pseudo-comeback, battling back to an 80-66 deficit with five minutes left in the game.
BYU's second and final game in Brooklyn will be against the loser of Friday's game between Notre Dame and Saint Joseph's. That game will tip at 5:00 p.m. MT and will also air on truTV. (One positive: getting the 5 p.m. tip time means we can all watch the game and still see all of the football game against San Jose State at 8:30 p.m. MT.)