PROVO — With 9:06 remaining in the first half Saturday night, Loyola Marymount opened up a double-digit lead over BYU, causing Cougar fans to think collectively: “Here we go again.”
After all, it was nearly two weeks ago that the Lions ran the Cougars off the court in a dominating victory in California.
In that first game, however, the Cougars didn’t have Matt Carlino, or at least not the version of Carlino that showed up this time in leading BYU to a 91-68 win over the Lions Saturday.
While Carlino sparked the Cougs in the victory, he was not the only effective BYU player. In fact, this was one of BYU’s more balanced team efforts of the season, with multiple guys making big contributions on both ends of the floor.
After the first 11 minutes, when LMU was getting whatever open shot it wanted, the Cougar defense held the Lions to just 38 points in the final 29 minutes. In the same span, the Cougar offense put up 71 points. It was one of the more dominant stretches BYU has played all season.
One thing remains the same with these Cougars this season: good luck figuring them out. After BYU played Utah State on Nov. 30, the headline of the report card read: “The future is now as Bartley and Mika lead the Cougars past the Aggies.”
Well, against LMU Saturday, Eric Mika sat out with an injury and Frank Bartley IV played but a single garbage-time minute, yet BYU won by 23. Clearly, this is a confusing bunch of players.
Nate Gagon is a published sports, music, and creative writer. He is also a wholehearted father, grateful husband and ardent student of life. He shoots roughly 94% from the free throw line and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or @nategagon.