On Saturday the Cougars and the Gaels will meet for the 16th time. BYU currently leads the series 9-6 and won the last meeting earlier this month. Even with the win the Cougars are 1-4 in their last five meetings. With the win the Cougars have finally beaten all WCC teams at least once since joining the conference.
Provo, UT 2013 (9-6)
Led by Tyler Haws 33 points the Cougars rode a strong second half to take down the Gales 84-71. After another slow start the Cougars faced a 14-4 deficit. After fighting and clawing their way back into the game, the Cougars managed to go to the locker room only down by one. In the second half the Cougars went on a 13-3 run and took a nine point lead. With just under four minutes left in the game the Cougars increased their lead to 16 before a flagrant 2 foul by Garrett Jackson caused a stir and sent him to the locker room.
Moraga, CA 2013 (8-6)
Led by Brandon Davies 25 points, nine rebounds and four assists, the Cougars dropped their fourth straight game to the Gaels. BYU led early and even took a 32-28 lead into the half but were unable to hold on to it and ended up with a 64-57 loss. The Cougars had their shots, including near the end, but couldn't take advantage and came up short. With BYU only down two, Matt Carlino missed two free throws, which allowed the Gaels to pull away from the free throw line.
When the Cougars have been on the road, the story always seems to start with "another heartbreaking loss". Thursday was no exception but this one could be labeled devastating. This loss most likely dropped BYU from any chance at receiving an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament and dropped them behind the Gaels for the second seed in the WCC Tournament.
Matt Carlino may have been the lone bright spot for the Cougars on Thursday. With 28 points, three rebounds and four assists the talented sixth man kept the Cougars in the ball game. He shot 60 percent from the field and almost 55 percent from three, even after a few ill advised heaves. He also hit four out of five from the free throw line and recorded a steal. His three turnovers were more than normal, but that may have come due to trying to do to much. If the Cougars can get a few more players going at the same time as Carlino, the Cougars will be in every game they play.
With everything that went wrong on the night, the most glaring stat is the two of seven shooting from the Cougars big men. Eric Mika, Nate Austin and Luke Worthington spent much of the game watching from the bench due to foul trouble, but even when on the floor they were very ineffective. With a combined six points and 12 fouls, the big men will need to do a much better job against the remaining schedule if the team is going to have success.
The Keys to Watch
When Saint Mary's has the ball: Watch for the Gaels to share the ball as all five starters are averaging in double digits. Junior forward Brad Waldow leads the crew with over 16 points per game, and over seven rebounds per game. The last time the two teams played he torched the Cougars for 25 points and went to the free throw line 18 times. Watch for him to try and duplicate that game while involving Stephen Holt and James Walker. Watch for the Cougars to put a body on Waldow and try to draw him into foul trouble. They proved they could get into his head the last time they played, watch them to take advantage of that again. Watch for the Cougars to keep the ball out of the hands of Holt as he had a four to one ratio on assists to turnovers. The Cougars should have the opportunity to out rebound the Gaels again, as long as the big men show up.
When BYU has the ball: Watch for the Cougars to rely on Carlino to control the tempo of the game. With him pushing the ball and making good decisions, the floor will open up for Haws and Collinsworth. Watch for Mika and Austin to show up again and make their presence known on the scoreboard and with the rebounds. Watch for the Gaels to double up Haws and pressure Carlino when he has the ball. They will try and be physical without fouling, while frustrating the BYU shooters.
The Broadcasting Details
Time: 6 pm MST
Radio (BYU): KSL 1160 AM/102.7 FM, BYU Radio-Sirius XM 143
Listen Live via Internet (KSL): Click Here