BYU basketball: Cougars fall to Notre Dame 78-68 in Coaches vs. Cancer Classic
The Cougars knocked off the Fighting Irish in the 1981 NCAA Tournament in a memorable game when Danny Ainge dribbled the length of the court and scored the winning basket just before time expired, sending BYU to its only Elite Eight appearance in school history.
On Saturday at the Barclays Center, the two teams renewed acquaintances in the Coaches vs. Cancer consolation game at the Barclays Center.
And at one point in the second half, the Cougars appeared poised to spring another upset against No. 20 Notre Dame.
But there were no heroics from BYU this time. The Cougars squandered a seven-point lead with 14:45 remaining in the game and ultimately lost to the Irish, 78-68.
Similar to their loss to Florida State on Friday, the Cougars shot poorly, allowed their opponent to shoot over 50 percent, and watched forward Brandon Davies take a seat on the bench early on due to foul trouble.
"We're disappointed for sure. We feel like we missed out on a big opportunity," said guard Tyler Haws, who scored a game-high 21 points for BYU and finished the two games in Brooklyn with 44 points. "But we're going to bounce back and learn from it. We're going to get better."
It marks the first time the Cougars have lost back-to-back regular-season games since falling to New Mexico and UNLV in January 2009.
Despite its struggles, BYU owned a 47-40 advantage with 14:45 left in the game. However, the Irish responded with an 18-4 run over a stretch that last a little more than six minutes and took control from there.
"We had the game kind of how we wanted it to go in the middle of the second half," said coach Dave Rose. "Then Notre Dame did what they do. They made possessions really long. They executed really well. They hit their free throws. They turned us over. They kind of locked us up for a few minutes."
"They just made plays," Haws said of Notre Dame. "You've got to give them credit. They made the shots they needed to knock down, some 3's, and they got to the rim on us. They made a run and we tried to make our run, but we came up short."
Irish forward Jack Cooley scored 19 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, while guards Jerian Grant and Eric Atkins chipped in with 19 and 16 points, respectively.
Asked about the turning point of the game, guard Matt Carlino said, "All I remember was we were up (seven points). Then next thing we know, we were tied. Then we were down. We never got (the lead) back."
With two minutes left, BYU made one final push. The Cougars found themselves down by five, 68-63, with Haws at the free-throw line after grabbing a big offensive rebound. Haws uncharacteristically missed the front end of the one-and-one.
In the final 90 seconds, the Irish knocked down eight free throws to seal the victory.
Davies scored 12 points, but played only 18 minutes. In the first half, he left the game at the 15:18 mark after being whistled for his second foul, and didn't return until the start of the second half.
Then he picked up his fourth foul with 11:30 remaining.
"We have to be smarter in our ability to not foul and stay on the floor," Rose said. "That was probably the most frustrating thing of the two games — the fact that we were shuffling lineups back and forth most of the time. We needed Brandon to play more than 18 minutes tonight. Hopefully we can figure that out."
"It's definitely tough," Haws said of playing without Davies. "He's a huge part of our team and we've got to have him on the floor. He makes everyone better. He's going to learn from this and play smarter in the next few games."
Guard Matt Carlino shot just 1 of 14 in the two games at the Barclays Center. He recorded three assists and two steals against Notre Dame.
"It affected us a lot having Brandon off the floor," said Carlino. "But that's not an excuse. We have to run our stuff and score points without him."
The score was tied 12 times and the lead changed hands 10 times. BYU shot only 38 percent from the floor, including 3 of 14 from 3-point territory.
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