BYU and Texas met in Kansas City for the semi-final game of the College Basketball Experience Hall of Fame Classic in a match-up that was a battle from opening tip-off.
The Cougars came out firing in Kansas City hitting their first six threes of the night. Matt Carlino led the charge early capitalizing on his first four three-point shots before missing on the next two. Carlino finished the half with 12 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds. Freshman Eric Mika also chipped in 12 points in the first before heading to the bench with two fouls near the end of the half. The spark off the bench came from freshman Frank Bartley IV. Bartley went 3 of 3 from the three-point line with 10 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, a steal, and a block. BYU's leading scorer on the year, Tyler Haws, struggled early only going 1 for 6 from the field in the first. As a whole the Cougars shot 46 percent from the field, 78 percent from the three-point line, and 67 percent from the free throw line.
The Longhorns were able to withstand the Cougars' early barrage from beyond-the-arc by dominating BYU on the offensive glass. Texas grabbed 12 offensive boards in the first half which resulted in 16 second chance points for the Longhorns. Texas got 25 points from its bench in the first, led by sophomore Javan Felix's 12. While sophomore Prince Ibeh grabbed 4 offensive boards to go along with his 9 points in the first 20 minutes.
The Cougars entered the half with a 43-42 lead.
The Cougars and Longhorns battled back and forth throughout the second half with neither teams' lead exceeding five points. The Longhorns' continued to dominate down low recording 49 rebounds with 19 on the offensive glass and 9 blocks. Foul trouble became a problem for BYU early in the second half with Mika picking up his third personal only around four minutes into the second. Three of the Cougars' starters (Nate Austin, Kyle Collinsworth, and Mika) on the bench with four fouls with just under eight minutes left in the game.
The teams battled down the stretch with constant lead changes, but the Cougars would grab their final lead with just under two minutes left and not look back. Haws came alive in the second scoring 23 second half points and lifting BYU to a 86-82 victory. Haws finished the night with a game high 25 points to go with 5 rebounds, and 2 assists. Carlino added 20 points, 6 assists, 5 rebounds and a steal.
Sophomore Cameron Ridley had an impressive performance, in a losing effort for the Longhorns, scoring 12 points, 10 rebounds, 6 blocks, 2 steals, and an assist. Felix finished with 17 points to lead all scorers for Texas.
With the victory, BYU advances to the championship game of the CBE Hall of Fame Classic where they will face the winner of tonight's DePaul vs #12 Wichita State match-up which can be seen on ESPN3. The championship game will be tomorrow night at 8:00 MST on ESPN2.
For more on all the teams in the CBE Hall of Fame Classic, check out our championship rounds preview.
Now it's your turn. What did you think about the Cougars' performance tonight? How do you like their chances in tomorrow's championship game?