SANTA CLARA, Calif. — When BYU ran out onto the court Saturday for warmups prior to its game against Santa Clara, guard Matt Carlino was sporting a large knee brace on his right knee.
Carlino had suffered an MCL sprain in Thursday's win over San Francisco, the game in which he poured in a career-high 30 points and nailed the game-winning shot.
In the first half against the Broncos, Carlino played just seven minutes after picking up two fouls. When he returned after intermission, Carlino wasn't wearing the brace. But five minutes into the second half, he went back to the locker room and put it back on.
Though Carlino finished with only two points — which came with three minutes remaining — he recorded a game-high seven assists and helped the Cougars beat the Broncos, 82-67.
Coach Dave Rose said Carlino was "really sore" Friday "and it kind of felt better (Saturday)."
Rose added that he was proud of Carlino's performance. "It was a gutty effort from him," he said. "He really spread the ball around well for us. He triggered those transition scores late in the second half."
Carlino was 1-of-4 from the floor and 0-of-1 from 3-point territory.
'HOME-COURT' ADVANTAGE:SantaClara announced that Saturday's game was a sellout at the 4,700-seat LeaveyCenter. Just like at other road venues in the WestCoast Conference this season, a large percentage of those fans were cheering for BYU.
"That's awesome," Rose said of the number of Cougar fans that turned out. "That's one thing I like about this conference — our fans are able to travel well and really support us. It felt like a home game once again. It's fun to go into new arenas, especially in our first year playing at new venues, and getting that first win."
TEAMEFFORT: Rose liked the way so many of his players contributed to Saturday's victory.
CharlesAbouo made 6-of-10 shots from the field for 14 points and pulled down eight rebounds. BrockZylstra came off the bench, hit 5-of-6 shots for 12 points and grabbed five rebounds. AndNateAustin chipped in six points and fouled out.
"Nate's given us great minutes," Rose said.