PROVO — No way did BYU want to be an upset victim to a Division II team in an exhibition game at home.
Things like that can happen.
On Friday night, Division II Dixie State shocked UNLV at the Thomas & Mack Center.
On Saturday night before a crowd of 9,032 at the Marriott Center, the Cougars hosted Division II Alaska Anchorage, but no, they didn’t suffer the same fate as the Runnin’ Rebels.
Freshman forward Eric Mika (17 points, 14 rebounds in 17 minutes) and junior guard Matt Carlino (17 points and 11 rebounds in 24 minutes) each recorded double-doubles in BYU’s 99-68 victory over the Seawolves in the Cougars’ final exhibition game.
BYU opens the regular season Friday at home against Weber State.
The Cougars outrebounded undersized Alaska Anchorage 69-29, and held the Seawolves to just 32.9 percent shooting from 3-point territory (8 for 34).
“That was a big emphasis of ours in practice. Coach (Dave Rose) is proud of us. That was a big focus,” said guard Kyle Collinsworth, who scored 14 points. “We didn’t want to let them get off and get rhythm because that was their chance to win that game — if they got off from the 3-point line.”
“Our focus was the challenge of contesting 3-point shots,” said Rose. “They’re a really good 3-point shooting team.”
Because of its size advantage, BYU didn’t need to shoot a lot of 3-pointers. Still, the Cougars hit only 2 of 15 from beyond the arc.
Is Rose concerned?
“Tonight we didn’t really get into a rhythm. I thought we shot a lot of open shots,” Rose said. “But for some reason, you need someone to break out and hit a couple and then it’s kind of contagious. It’s a good 3-point shooting team, too. That surprised me. Hopefully we shoot better on Friday (against Weber State).”
Carlino and guard Skyler Halford combined to go 1 for 10 from the 3-point line.
Meanwhile, the Seawolves didn’t have an answer for Mika.
“He’s a beast inside. He can do that every night,” said forward Nate Austin. “He’s a big, big kid who’s hungry for the ball. He showed that tonight.”
Alaska Anchorage has three players on its roster with ties to the state of Utah. Teancum Stafford (who played previously at Snow College) scored five points. Brad Mears (a native of South Jordan) had four points. And Jacob Craft (who’s from Sandy) had three points.
Mears played with a dislocated finger in his shooting hand, said coach Randy Osborne.
Copyright 2015, Deseret News Publishing Company