BYU basketball: Cougars cruise past Southern Miss, advance to NIT Final Four in New York
"We're playing to have fun and playing to win — everything's good out there and flowing," Carlino said. "It feels good. It's almost like we're playing with a second wind right now. I don't feel drained. Everyone's playing tough and making the most of where we're at. Our plan was to just attack. I think they get 15 steals a game so we knew we'd have to keep control of the ball. Guys just had to get to the right places on the court and we did that tonight."
The Cougars fell behind 5-0 in the opening minute, but scored 11 unanswered points as Southern Miss missed nine straight shots.
Meanwhile, the red-hot Zylstra knocked down four consecutive 3-pointers as BYU forged a 10-point advantage, 20-10.
Later, as the Golden Eagles chipped away at their deficit, Zylstra struck again by hitting another 3-pointer and drawing a foul. Zylstra hit the free throw to complete a four-point play to put BYU ahead, 30-20.
Southern Miss responded with an 8-0 run, but the Cougars closed out the half by scoring eight in a row, capped by a 3-pointer by Carlino just before the halftime buzzer. At intermission, BYU went into the locker room with a 40-29 lead. It was Carlino's first field goal of the first half.
"They put a run on us and it looked like we might go into halftime with a two- or three-point lead," Rose said. "That little sequence changes everything. It put us up 11 going into the half. Our guys were excited to get out of the locker room and get out and play."
The Cougars didn't let up, outscoring Southern Miss, 8-2, to start the second half and pushing their lead to 17. BYU led by as many as 21.
NOTES: Haws has scored 86 points in the NIT, marking the most career points for a Cougar in NIT games. He surpassed Roland Minson's 82 in 1951 This will be BYU's second trip to New York this season. In November, the Cougars played a pair of games at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. BYU lost to Florida State and Notre Dame.
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