BYU basketball weekend report card: Freshmen Mika and Bartley star as Cougs roll
Coming off an impressive road win where they dazzled Stanford with 112 points, BYU kicked off the CBE Hall of Fame Classic tournament with two weekend games at home against lesser-known opponents.
Friday night was the big Mormon vs. Catholic sports contest everybody’s been talking about.
Or, wait; maybe that’s the football game next weekend in Indiana. Yeah, that one might be a little more interesting.
Mount St. Mary’s, the second oldest Catholic college in the United States, stormed into Provo Friday night, fresh off its NCAA Division II national championship in 1962. Looking like a team that could compete for the Northeast Conference title this season, the Mountaineers matched the BYU Cougars shot for shot — for the first 5½ minutes.
After that, not so much. The final score was 108-76.
Saturday night the Cougars took on the Colorado Mesa Mavericks, an average Division 2 school from the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference — a conference the Mavericks finished fourth in last season and were picked to finish fifth in this season.
Saturday’s game, surprisingly, turned out to be the bigger test of the two for BYU. Maybe the Cougars were tired from playing the night before. Maybe the Mavericks were playing with the spirit of school alumnus Dick Nourse, the famous Utah news anchor of 43 years.
Either way, the game against Colorado Mesa was ugly. BYU shot just 42 percent and 1-21 on 3-pointers. The Mavericks shot just 35 percent and had more turnovers than made shots. After 15 minutes the game was tied at 23. The final score was 84-60. The Cougs did what was needed to win, but it was not overly impressive or entertaining.
BYU superstar Tyler Haws did not play in either game — which frankly made the weekend more interesting. As a result of Haws sitting out with an abdominal strain, BYU’s potential future stars got more of a chance to shine.
Veterans Kyle Collinsworth and Anson Winder kept the Cougars steady, particularly in Friday’s game, but freshmen Eric Mika and Frank Bartley IV were the story of the weekend. Each newcomer got chances to put on a show, and they didn’t disappoint.
The player that did disappoint was Matt Carlino, who hit only 8-30 shots and played out of control at times.
Coach Dave Rose said after the game that he does not yet know if Haws will be available against Iowa State on Wednesday.
Here’s how each position group fared in the two weekend games:
Nate Gagon is a published sports, music, and creative writer. He is also a wholehearted father, grateful husband and ardent student of life. He shoots roughly 94% from the free-throw line and can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org or @nategagon.
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