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BYU Basketball: St. Mary’s defeats BYU

Poor defense and rebounding doom Cougars

NCAA Basketball: West Coast Conference Tournament-Gonzaga vs BYU Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

BYU had won their first two conference games before heading to California to face St. Mary’s, and now will do some soul searching after suffering an 81-68 loss at the hands of the Gaels. Randy Bennett’s squad is known for a deliberate pace, efficient offense, and good defense, and although the game was relatively high scoring by St. Mary’s standards, the Gaels quite simply imposed their will on BYU for almost the entire game.

Eric Mika was the main bright spot for BYU, contributing 28 points and 10 rebounds and even showing his improving mid-range game with several outside shots. Mika also played his game without any foul trouble, which is a welcome development heading into more conference games. The BYU defense just couldn’t generate enough stops to keep the game close as the game progressed. St. Mary’s shot 55.4% from the field, and seemed to get an open look every trip down the floor due to sharp ball movement.

Elijah Bryant, who missed all of December and some of November with a knee injury played tonight and scored 11 points off the bench.

BYU will look to get on track next against Pacific (1-2 in WCC) in the Marriott Center on Saturday at 7 PM MT.