ANAHEIM So, what's it going to take for BYU to get its first NCAA win since 1993?
It's a dry spell that climbed to 16 years Thursday night when Texas A&M sent the Cougars packing after a 67-62 decision.
It'll take the Cougars peaking at the right time and much better play at the end of the season.
While the 27-8 Cougars won an outright Mountain West Conference title this year, they ended the season on a 0-2 run with losses in the finals of the league tournament and the first round of the NCAA regional.
BYU star Lee Cummard, the MWC's co-player of the year, didn't hesitate when asked for his solution.
"We're going to do a better job of defending the shot, 54 percent, that's not going to get it done. Rebounding, we got out-rebounded by 12, and that's not going to get it done. And shooting 44 percent is not going to get it done. So, it's back to the drawing board. Got to compete. A little more sense of urgency at the start of the game. Credit Texas A&M."
Nobody could spell it out better than that.
The Cougars had every opportunity to defeat the Aggies here in the first round, but they simply didn't make enough plays when it counted.
Head coach Dave Rose said the Aggies did a great job with big bodies in setting up top shooter Josh Carter early.
"When you come off screens and get knocked off a little," Rose said, "it creates separation, and that gave Carter enough room to hit that first shot and get himself feeling confident."
Carter hit four treys in the first 10 minutes. After the Cougars made adjustments, putting both Jonathan Tavernari and then Sam Burgess on him, they slowed him down.
But in the end, he hit a series of big shots, and teammate Dominique Kirk added a pair of 3-pointers at critical times to lead the Aggies to the win.
The Aggie advantage on the boards also hurt, although Rose wouldn't concede that it got out of hand. He knew coming in the Aggies were outstanding rebounders, particularly on the offensive end.
A&M held a slim 9-8 advantage on the offensive glass.
"We did a pretty good job on the boards for the most part. I mean, they didn't end up with some numbers like they have 8, 19 or 20. They got critical second shots that really helped them, especially in that last three- or four-minute period when the game was right there on the line for either team."
A&M coach Mark Turgeon said his team played the final 10 minutes against BYU as solid as it had all season long making key shots, defending BYU plays and getting loose balls.
"We had them well scouted," Turgeon said. "I saw eight game films myself. We thought we had down what they would do and we were prepared."Rose agreed. "It appeared when we came off screens, they were right there."
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