Guest commentary: Farewell Matt Carlino, thanks for the memories
Carlino led the Cougars to a road win at Portland with a 24-point outing and comprised a part of the big three for BYU, including Tyler Haws and Brandon Davies. Carlino also iced the Pepperdine game in Malibu with a last-minute fade away 3-point shot. He had 28 points to lead the Cougars to a win over Santa Clara in the Marriott Center.
BYU was disappointed to settle for the National Invitation Tournament to conclude the 2013 season, but the Cougars made one of their best runs in tournament history, defeating Washington, Mercer and Southern Mississippi before falling to Baylor in New York City. Carlino's passing, shooting and overall court play were a major factor in the Cougars' success. With Haws and Carlino leading the players coming back for the next season, optimism prevailed.
The optimism proved true early the next season. Haws had 31 points and Carlino scored 26 in a road win at Stanford. Haws, Carlino and company valiantly tried to stave off highly ranked Iowa State in Provo before losing, but who could forget the half-court lob from Carlino to Eric Mika for a slam dunk in the first half when the Cougars were on a run?
After a midseason team slump, Carlino accepted the role of coming off the bench to add a spark to the team. The venture worked, and Carlino's productivity increased significantly. In a twisted sense, Carlino became even more of a fan favorite and he and the team flourished with his new role. When Haws had 31 points, Kyle Collinsworth 20 and Carlino 19 in a big home win over Loyola Marymount, the Cougars were hitting on all cylinders.
Carlino had his traditional excellent game in San Francisco in a win over the Dons, and then came off the bench to score all of his 11 points in the second half to lead the Cougars to a tough win over the Dons in Provo. He did all he could do with 28 points against Pacific at Stockton in a shocking loss. In the win over Gonzaga in Provo, Carlino had six assists, as Anson Winder led the team in scoring. Carlino made critical shots and plays down the stretch to ice the victory.
Another sterling example of Carlino's talents came late in the season in a home win over Portland. Carlino seemingly could not miss as he racked up 30 points, including eight 3-point shots. If you ever want to get nostalgic for the Carlino days, crank up the DVR to the Portland-BYU game in Provo.
Carlino helped BYU gut out an overtime win against the San Francisco Dons in the WCC tournament, but a loss to Gonzaga in the finals and a one-and-done against Oregon in the NCAA tournament left the Cougar fans wanting more from Carlino's expected senior season. But it wasn't to be, and we wish him all the best in his one year at Marquette. He is gone, but special memories remain. Thanks, Matt.
Ken Driggs of Mesa, Ariz., is a BYU graduate and served as Cosmo in the ’60s. Contact him at email@example.com.
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