The BYU men's basketball team ended its non-conference schedule with a thud on Saturday, losing to No. 19 Mississippi State 103-81 in Starkville, Mississippi, and not much of anything went right.
A big 13-0 run by the Bulldogs midway through the first half built a double-digit advantage leading up to a second half in which the Cougars were outplayed in most every facet during the final 20 minutes of play.
"There were a lot of times where I really felt like we got discouraged and we didn't compete at the level or with the urgency or intensity that we need to if we're going to pull off a game like this in this environment," said BYU coach Dave Rose during KSL's postgame show.
The Cougars played the Bulldogs well at the outset until a 13-0 run by the home team turned a 23-23 tie into a 36-23 deficit that the Cougars couldn't come close to overcoming. A total of 11 turnovers played a big role in allowing 48 first-half points for the Bulldogs with the Cougars trailing 48-38 at the break.
"Turnovers (are) really, really hard to guard, and that's what happened against (a loss) at San Diego State and what happened here tonight," Rose said. "You turn that thing over and we can't stop it until it's in the basket on the other end. … And that's where I felt like we kind of let our energy and our determination slide a little bit."
The teams traded baskets for the first part of the second half before another big MSU run all but buried the Cougars. With BYU trailing 63-53, a 16-2 blitz by the Bulldogs extended the lead to 79-55 with just under 10 minutes remaining.
Leading the way for Mississippi State was 6-foot-10 Aric Holman, who finished with a game-high 28 points, while beating the Cougars from both the paint and the perimeter. Rose tried a variety of ways to defend Holman although not much of anything came close to working out.
"He kind of had his way with us. That's for sure," Rose said.
MSU's leading scorer Quinndary Weatherspoon also proved too much, scoring 27 points on 9-for-13 shooting from the field.
BYU was again paced by junior Yoeli Childs, who scored a team-high 25 points. TJ Haws added 14 points on 4-for-15 shooting from the field, and Zac Seljaas chipped in 13.
"We're really getting to where we're relying on just (Childs) and TJ as our scorers, and we really need the third guy, the fourth guy and the fifth guy to respond," Rose said. "And that's really what Mississippi State had tonight. They had great balance all the way across their roster."38 comments on this story
The game served as a sort of homecoming for BYU junior guard Jahshire Hardnett with the Gulfport, Mississippi, native providing some good moments, but also an unwarranted technical foul as second-half frustration mounted.
"He competed really well, but then he got into a jawing match with (Mississippi State guard) Lamar Peters, and he gets the technical foul," Rose said. "Really disappointed with the way he responded with that."
Hardnett finished with eight points and two assists.
With the loss, BYU falls to 8-7 on the year and will look to rebound against Pacific and then Saint Mary's on the road to begin West Coast Conference play.