The Marriott Center crowd was treated to a fast paced, high scoring basketball game as BYU took UT Arlington in the first round of the NIT by a score of 105-89. Unfortunately for the short handed Cougars their thin bench and turn over problems really contributed to the loss. UT Arlington came out firing on all cylinders and set school record with 62 points in the first half. UT Arlington never trailed in this game.
Despite going 22-29 from the free throw line, BYU really didn’t help themselves much by turning the ball over 20 times, leading to a huge chunk of the UTA points. The injury to Elijah Bryant also loomed heavily as the Cougars started Davin Guinn and saw a bulk of minutes given to Steven Beo and Zach Frampton. While BYU struggled with depth, UT Arlington played ten players significantly and were able to keep up the blistering pace despite being on the road and at high altitude.
Despite the team struggles, Eric Mika had another great game with 29 points and 7 rebounds. Nick Emery also had a strong game with 24 points, recovering from a frustrating game against St. Mary’s. TJ Haws contributed 11 points and Colby Leifson gave the fans something to cheer about with 10 points as the game came to a close.
UTA were lead by Drew Charles, who normally scores 7 points per game, with 28 points. Erick Neal and Kevin Hervey both had 20 points.
This loss brings the season to close. Luckily, all of BYU’s starters are coming back next season, and hopefully the bench can be solidified as new players come into the program.