In a hard-fought slugfest, the Cougars made enough free throws to outlast the San Francisco Dons 79-77 in overtime on Monday night. BYU made 24-of-28 free-throw attempts to narrowly advance to the West Coast Conference championship game.
Tyler Haws led the way for the Cougars with 24 points on a rough shooting night while Kyle Collinsworth and Eric Mika each put up a double-double. Collinsworth finished the night with 18 points and 12 rebounds while Mika chipped in with 11 points and 10 rebounds.
The starting backcourt
Haws really struggled from the field making just 5-of-19 field goal attempts, but he made all 14 of his free throws to pace the Cougars. Collinsworth was better from the floor, hitting on 8-of-16 shots, but he looked rushed at times on offense and, like Haws, took some bad shots. He was fantastic on the offensive glass, however, coming away with six rebounds. Anson Winder played solid much of the night. He finished with 15 points on 5-of-7 shooting, but did miss a key free throw in the closing seconds that gave the Dons a chance.
The starting frontcourt
Mika was back in the starting lineup and gave the frontcourt some punch on the offensive end in limited chances. He hit 4-of-7 field goal attempts and 3-of-4 free throws. Mika also did a nice job on the glass with four offensive rebounds and another six on the defensive end. Mika managed to stay out of foul trouble in the physical contest, but did lose his cool at one point after he fell to the floor after a held ball. Nate Austin played well on defense, but didn't look to score at all on offense. His stat line on the night consisted of four rebounds and a blocked shot.
With Mika in the starting lineup, the Cougars got little help off the bench on the offensive end. Although five players saw time, only Matt Carlino scored. Carlino registered 11 points on just 4-of-12 shooting. He also added two rebounds and two steals. Luke Worthington and Josh Sharp played some valuable minutes and were a presence on defense. Between the two of them, they committed five fouls while grabbing a rebound and blocking a shot. Frank Bartley IV and Skyler Halford saw minimal time and weren't much of a factor.
Rose took a gamble by inserting Mika back into the starting lineup, but it paid off as he was able to stay on the floor. The BYU offensive sets weren't effective coming out of timeouts, including a play that could've sealed the win for the Cougars at the end of regulation. After settling for too many contested jumpers during regulation, Rose got the players to attack the rim in overtime, which created some easy scoring opportunities on layups and free throws. Rose also made a curious decision by calling timeout to set up his defense in the last eight seconds. It allowed the Dons to set up a play even though they had used their alloted timeouts. It worked out as San Francisco didn't get a clean look on the final play.
Grade: B-7 comments on this story
They Cougar guards took too many contested shots and struggled to find the open man. Only four guys on the floor ever looked to score and it allowed the San Francisco defense to key in on the Cougars' main weapons including plenty of double teams. BYU has to space the floor better or Gonzaga will do the same thing on Tuesday night. The game was ugly and BYU didn't play its best game by any stretch of the imagination, but did just enough to come away with a win and earn another shot at the Bulldogs.