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BYU basketball report card: Carlino, Cougars pull out win over San Francisco

By Nate Gagon

For the Deseret News

Published: Friday, Jan. 17 2014 12:06 a.m. MST

In a close back-and-forth affair in which neither team played particularly well, BYU was able to gain separation from San Francisco in the last 10 minutes of the game and then hold on for a sloppy 83-76 win.

The Cougars’ first conference road win, and fourth straight overall, leaves them at 4-2 in the West Coast Conference and 12-7 overall. The loss drops San Francisco, a top-100 RPI team heading into the game, to 4-3 in WCC play and 11-8 on the season.

Thursday night at the War Memorial Gymnasium, neither team led by more than four until BYU took a 58-52 lead with 11:06 remaining. The Dons were still within five with less than four minutes to go, and were within five again with 21 seconds left and had possession of the ball. Kyle Collinsworth made a big defensive play to force a turnover and finally seal the victory for the visiting Cougars.

Each of BYU’s key players made important contributions during certain stretches, all of which were necessary for the Cougars to ultimately leave San Francisco with a hard-fought team win. Matt Carlino came up especially big off the bench. After sitting for the first eight minutes of the game, Carlino immediately sparked the team and played nearly the entire game after that, sitting out only a few minutes to start the second half.

This was a big win for coach Dave Rose and the Cougars, who suddenly have entered the NCAA Tournament picture again after largely being written off two weeks ago. Several projections, even before this game, had the Cougars as a bubble team. After beating an RPI top-100 team on the road, those projections should hold steady.

Here are the grades for each BYU position group and other aspects of the game.

BYU GUARDS

Carlino seems to be thriving in his new role as the sixth man. In his 27 minutes, he was a strong challenger for MVP of this game for BYU. He noticeably gave the team a lift when he took the floor in the first half and looked confident and in control throughout the evening. Carlino finished with 17 points on 5-of-9 shooting, including 3-of-6 behind the arc. The rest of his stat line really doesn’t tell the story of the overall impact he had. If Carlino plays a few less minutes versus the Dons, BYU likely loses.

Collinsworth continued to trend upward with another nice outing. Although he did not have an assist in the game, he did make 7-of-10 shots for 19 points to go along with four rebounds and two steals. Perhaps most importantly, Collinsworth had just one turnover and continued to look smoother from the foul line in making 5-of-7 free throws.

Skyler Halford was the best player on the floor when BYU needed him most. He played a key role the final four minutes to help seal the win. Although Halford didn’t play well for most of the evening, he did knock down 11-of-12 free throws and came up with three steals.

It is difficult to know what to make of Tyler Haws these days. He does not appear to be playing with a lot of confidence. He gets his shot blocked regularly when he tries to drive to the basket and continues to force up shots when a pass might be a smarter play. In 31 minutes, Haws did not collect a single rebound, steal or block. He had three turnovers and four fouls to go along with his season average of one assist. To his credit, he did make 5-of-10 shots and 4-of-5 at the foul line.

Anson Winder and Frank Bartley IV combined for just eight minutes and had virtually no impact on the game. Each player now appears to be uncertain of himself when he does get minutes, which is not surprising considering how severely their playing time has fluctuated this season.

As a group, BYU’s guards combined for a shockingly low four assists in the game compared to an also-low eight turnovers. The Cougars are fortunate to win a game against anybody with that former statistic.

Grade: B-

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