He likes this gym. He plays well here. He has all three years. He was so much better defensively, too. —BYU coach Dave Rose, on Matt Carlino
SAN FRANCISCO — For BYU guard Matt Carlino, there’s something about War Memorial Gymnasium.
The 6-foot-2 junior struck again here Thursday night to help lift the Cougars to an 83-76 win over San Francisco.
Carlino came off the bench with 12:02 left in the first half and immediately provided a big boost for BYU. He finished with 17 points.
“In the beginning, I was dialed in,” said Carlino, who hit three 3-pointers.
It was reminiscent of the last two seasons at War Memorial Gymnasium, as Carlino poured in a career-high 30 two years ago, and he finished with 22 points last season.
“He likes this gym. He plays well here,” said coach Dave Rose. “He has all three years. He was so much better defensively, too.”
With guard Kyle Collinsworth on the bench in foul trouble, Carlino made a crucial play that swung the momentum BYU’s way.
With 13:14 remaining, Carlino stole the ball, then threw a pretty pass down court to Tyler Haws, who dunked the ball and was fouled. Haws made the free throw, giving the Cougars their biggest lead at that time, 51-47.
“I wanted to get Ty in transition,” Carlino said. “I got the steal and was so happy to see him. I fired it to him and he threw it down. That was a great play. It really got us going.”
The Cougars know all about Carlino’s history at War Memorial Gymnasium.
“He told me that he felt comfortable and he was shooting well in shootaround,” said Collinsworth. “His confidence was high. We feed off each other. That’s what we did well tonight. A lot of guys scored in double-digits. We were unselfish and took what they gave us.”
Carlino said he’s settled into his role.
“I’m just playing. I’m just doing anything I can to help our team win. It was good for me to get back to the point. My minutes before were at the two, and it was really awkward for me. Now I’m playing the point, it’s easier for me to play.”
NOTES: USF’s Cole Dickerson scored 26 points and pulled down 14 boards. Eric Mika was in double figures for the 16th-straight game, second-best all-time for a BYU freshman. Former BYU guard Jackson Emery, who helped lead the Cougars to the 2011 Sweet 16, provided color commentary on KSL Radio Thursday night in place of Mark Durrant. Classes are not in session at USF, so most students are not on campus. Kids under 12 years old were admitted to the game for free Thursday night.