PROVO — BYU freshman guard Matt Carlino made his much-anticipated debut with 13:13 remaining in the first half Saturday against No. 6 Baylor, and he certainly made an impact in 24 minutes of action.
Not surprisingly, Carlino experienced plenty of ups-and-downs in his first collegiate game.
He scored 18 points, hitting 4-of-8 shots from 3-point range, and he also turned the ball over four times, including a couple of critical ones in the final minutes. The 6-foot-2, 175-pounder also had a shot to tie the game with six seconds left, but the ball rimmed out.
Disappointment was etched on Carlino's face after the 86-83 loss to the Bears. He certainly wasn't happy with his performance.
"I turned the ball over and missed a shot," Carlino said. "If I could have done those things better, we might have had a chance to win."
Carlino added that his first game was "amazing. The fans were amazing, but it was a loss. That's all people are going to remember … We're going to get better from this, a lot better. But we wanted to win that game."
What does Carlino want to improve on moving forward?
"Just controlling the game a little bit better and not have the turnovers I had that cost our team," he said. "That was a good team, though. Give a lot of credit to them. They made a lot of plays down the stretch. We're a good team, too. Everyone in our locker room expected to win that game. It just didn't go our way."
BYU coach Dave Rose said Carlino simply needs more experience.
"That's what all young players need. They need to be in those situations. I can remember a few years ago in a game up at Utah. We had a wide-open 3 from Jimmer (Fredette) to win the game. We missed it, and we go into overtime and lose. What made him better? He played a lot more."
Cougar forward Brandon Davies was encouraged by Carlino's effort.
"He played great. He kind of showed how he's going to be playing the rest of the year," he said. "He's a great player. He works his tail off every day in practice. That's how he plays. We know how he plays. I'm just glad he doesn't have to watch and can be in a uniform with us on the court."
Baylor coach Scott Drew was impressed with Carlino.
"In the scouting report, we didn't do Carlino justice," he said. "We knew he was a good shooter, but we didn't know he could make tough shots like that. If he can continue to do that all year long, that gives BYU another weapon."
RG3 AND PJ3: BYU's student section, which arrived long before tipoff, wore white T-shirts that said, "Rise and Roar." Just prior to tipoff, they unfurled a banner congratulating Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III, known as "RG3," for winning the Heisman Trophy.
On Saturday, Cougar fans got a good look at forward Perry Jones III, or PJ3. Jones, who is projected as a NBA lottery pick next summer, finished with a game-high 28 points.
He went down with an injury late in the contest, but returned.
"The way Perry was down, whenever you've had a previous knee injury you get concerned for any player," said Baylor coach Scott Drew. "Davies showed his class by coming over and making sure he was okay. That's one thing as a coach, no one likes to see anyone get injured."
Drew acknowledged that BYU was playing without forward Stephen Rogers, who underwent knee surgery earlier this week and will be out 2-4 weeks.
"You want to see people healthy, especially when you're competing in crunch time like this," Drew said.
REBOUNDING AND TURNOVERS: BYU outrebounded Baylor, 44-31, and in the first half, the Cougars had 26 rebounds, including 11 offensive boards, compared to just 11 for the Bears.
"That was one of the main keys going into this game — beating them on the glass," Davies said. "I thought we did a pretty good job of that. We tried to be physical on the glass and get all of the rebounds that we could because they're a great rebounding team. That was part of the game plan."
On the other hand, the Cougars had 16 turnovers.
"They scored 26 points off our turnovers," Rose said. "That's a big part of what they do. They play to turn you over. They recruit to turn you over. Their personnel is long, athletic, quick and they're deep, so they can take a lot of chances … They'll be really physical and try to turn you over. It's something we had to overcome."
OFFICIATING: There were several questionable calls by the Big 12 officials, and the fans expressed their displeasure.
But Rose liked his team's composure.
"That's all part of the experience of the game. There are calls that you get a break from and there are calls that you think are tough calls on you," he said. "You have to play through everything. I thought we did a good job of that. I thought our players left the players alone and worried about their execution and the challenge at hand. In an environment like that, sometimes it's difficult because you lose your cool and we stayed within ourselves pretty well."
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