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BYU Basketball struggles in loss to Saint Mary’s

What if I told you that Jock Landale would score a season low 7 points for Saint Mary’s, play just 14 minutes due to foul trouble, and BYU would still lose by double figures at home?

NCAA Basketball: Portland at Brigham Young Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

BYU scored a season low in points as Saint Mary’s played well in a 70-57 victory at the Marriott Center on Saturday night. Eric Mika led the way for the BYU with 18 points, while Yoeli Childs added 13 and T.J. Haws chipped in 11. Saint Mary’s turned to their perimeter shooting with Jock Landale on the bench in foul trouble, as Calvin Hermanson and Evan Fitzner combined for 32 points and 7 made three pointers.

BYU did a solid job feeding the ball to Eric Mika in the post, who drew fouls on three different Saint Mary’s forwards. When Landale picked up his second foul with 8:29 left in the half, the Gaels were up 23-18. But sparingly used backup Jordan Hunter contributed 5 points and some stout defense (and a few fouls) against Mika to help Saint Mary’s go on an 18-12 run to take a 41-30 lead into half. Eric struggled to finish in the paint, while Nick Emery and Elijah Bryant also forced the issue and missed some difficult shots around the rim. Outside of Evan Fitzner (2/7 shooting, 0/4 from beyond the arc), Saint Mary’s shot 16/21 from the field and 5/8 from distance in the first half.

The Cougars opened up the second half in a 1-3-1 zone, but they did a poor job of rotating to the open Gael shooters in the corner. Hermanson and Fitzner both hit multiple three pointers early on to push the Gaels lead out to 20 points by the second media timeout. Yoeli Childs looked to have seriously hurt his knee after landing awkwardly after making a jump hook, but he was able to return to the floor after a brief trip to the locker room. His return wasn’t enough, as BYU played one of its worst offensive halves of the season. Saint Mary’s drained out the clock in the final minutes, let BYU score a couple baskets in the final minutes, but still won the game handily by a 13 point margin.

We all know the flaws of this BYU team by now, and this game really showed the versatility of Saint Mary’s to play inside and outside in different circumstances. The Cougars fell to 19-10, 10-6 in the WCC, and will need to win at Portland on Thursday night to have a realistic shot at an NIT berth, which could be beneficial for a team that starts only freshmen and sophomores.

News and Notes:

  • Nick Emery’s Last Five Games (points): 2, 19, 4, 26, 4. He may still be recovering from his illness, but we’re seeing far more inconsistency this season than we did during his freshman year (similar to Matt Carlino).
  • BYU has 6 total bench points in the last three games. Injuries to Kyle Davis and now L.J. Rose has really illustrated that the team has no scoring punch off the bench.
  • Emmett Naar and Joe Rahon: combined 13 assists and 4 turnovers. Saint Mary’s has often had the luxury of playing two point guards at the same time, having previously done so with Mickey McConnell and Matthew Dellavedova.