PROVO — BYU overcame a sluggish start, and cold shooting behind the arc, to beat Colorado Mesa 84-60 Saturday night in the Marriott Center.

The Cougars were led by Matt Carlino with a team-high 16 points. Kyle Collinsworth and Anson Winder added 15 and 14 points, respectively. And big contributions were made off the bench by first-year players Skyler Halfod (12 points) and Frank Bartley (10.)

Star swingman Tyler Haws sat out the second night in a row with an abdominal strain, which perhaps played a role in BYU’s relatively slow start, along with the team playing its third game of the week. On Monday the Cougars outlasted Stanford, 112-103, on the road before beating Mount Saint Mary’s at home Friday, 108-76.

“Both the games — Monday and Friday — were a lot of possessions racing up and down the floor,” said coach Dave Rose. “I think it kind of took its toll on us tonight — especially with our perimeter shots.”

Overall the Cougars finished just 1-21 from 3-point range with Collinsworth providing the lone make at the nine-minute mark of the second half.

BYU looked sluggish out of the gates. Colorado Mesa effectively slowed down the pace and found itself tied 25-25 toward the close of the first half. The Cougars created a bit of breathing space from that point, but still went into the locker room up just 36-28.

The Cougars proved to be a much different team in the second half.

A tenacious defensive effort and a focus on pushing the basketball up the court provided a 21-1 run to put the Mavericks on their heels. As a result, the Cougars led 57-29 after just seven minutes of play.

“During that run in the second half our guys were really getting to the basket, finishing at the rim and going to the free-throw line,” Rose said. “I think we really took advantage of that.”

Big contributions were made by both Bartley and Halford off the bench — not only in scoring points, but with pushing the pace and contributing in all areas.

“Coming off the bench you just try and do your best to contribute,” Halford said. “Everybody has a role on this team and everyone is trying to do as best they can and we’re still trying to find ourselves. But right now it‘s just about contributing where you can.”

Next up for the Cougars is a home game against Iowa State this coming Wednesday. Haws’ status is still uncertain. According to Rose, rest is really the only cure for an abdominal strain and the team will have to see how Haws feels Monday.


Twitter: @BrandonCGurney