BYU basketball: Cougars hold on for wild comeback win over Pepperdine (+video)

Published: Thursday, Jan. 31 2013 11:25 p.m. MST

BYU celebrates after Brigham Young guard Cory Calvert, right, hits a three pointer late in the game against Weber State during NCAA basketball played in Ogden, Saturday, Dec. 15, 2012.

Ravell Call, Deseret News

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MALIBU, Calif. — During a relatively long stretch of the first half Thursday night at Pepperdine, BYU guard Matt Carlino sat on the bench, filled with frustration.

"I was pretty upset," said Carlino, who had more turnovers (three) than points (two) in 11 minutes of action.

And his Cougars looked like they were going to be the victims of an upset at the hands of the Waves, who led by 11 points at halftime.

But Carlino and the rest of his teammates shrugged off the slow start and rallied in the second half.

Carlino drilled a game-winning 3-pointer, while falling down, with 12.1 seconds remaining, just before the shot clock expired.

In the end, Carlino redeemed himself and BYU escaped Firestone Fieldhouse with a 63-61 victory.

"I was like, 'If that goes in, that would be the best thing ever,'" said guard Tyler Haws, who scored a game-high 21 points. "And it did. I was pretty excited. … It feels so good to get a close win like that."

With the shot clock winding down, and the play breaking down, Pepperdine collapsed on Cougar guard Anson Winder, who found Carlino near the top of the key.

"Right when it left my hands, I knew it was good," Carlino said of his last shot. "It was just a good play by Anson."

Still, it was a bittersweet night for Carlino.

"I kind of have mixed emotions right now, because I’m disappointed in the way we played most of the game," he said. "But it's good to get out of here with a win."

Even after Carlino's heroics, which gave BYU a four-point lead, 63-59, the game still had some twists and turns left.

On the Waves' ensuing possession, Winder fouled Pepperdine's Jordan Baker on a 3-point attempt with 1.3 seconds left.

"Then we came down and fouled, which was pretty scary," Haws said.

Earlier, Baker had nailed a 3-pointer as the shot clock expired and with 1:09 remaining in the game, as the Waves re-claimed the lead they had enjoyed almost the entire contest.

Baker knocked down the first two free throws to cut the deficit to 63-61. Then the Waves called timeout, planning to miss the third free throw on purpose to have a chance to tie the game and force overtime.

It nearly worked, as Baker's miss was tipped back by Stacy Davis, but the ball caromed off the rim just before time ran out.

"I thought their guy left a little early," Haws said of the final free throw. "The refs aren't going to call something like that. We're just glad we were able to tip that thing around and the time expired."

BYU improved to 17-6 overall and 7-2 in the West Coast Conference. Pepperdine dropped to 10-11 and 2-6.

"It was a hard-fought win," said coach Dave Rose. "Our guys should be really proud and excited that we were able to win the game. Our guys regrouped. We found a way to hang in there. We did a better job in the second half. … Pepperdine did a great job of taking us out of stuff early."

The Cougars outscored the Waves, 43-30, in the second half.

"This team just finds ways to win," Haws said. "I'm just proud of the way our guys competed to the very end."

Carlino scored BYU's final five points, including a pair of clutch free throws with 1:03 remaining that lifted the Cougars to a 60-59 edge.

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