Prior to this game, BYU was 6-8 in games played away from Provo. This is why a performance such as this was such a surprise to many of the BYU faithful. However, with the way that the Cougars were playing lately, this should not have come as a surprise.
BYU controlled the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagles from start to finish in a 79 to 62 win. Although the Cougars could not score their previous NIT standard of 90 points, they were fantastic again on the offensive side of things. Four BYU players, Matt Carlino, Brock Zylstra, Brandon Davies, and Tyler Haws, scored in double figures. Haws led all scorers with 25. Zylstra and Davies each recorded double-double’s, with Zylstra scoring 23 points and grabbing 10 rebounds and Davies scoring 12 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. Zylstra had the hot hand from 3-point land the entire game; the senior was 5 of 9 on 3-point shots.
It was very apparent that BYU coach Dave Rose did a fabulous job scouting the USM 2-3 zone. The Cougars were able to easily find good looks by having their leading scorer Tyler Haws flash in the center of the Golden Eagles zone. Haws is perfect for this type of role, considering he is a great catch and shoot player. Because Southern Miss had to respect Haws ability to shoot, they were forced to key on Haws. As a result, several BYU shooters, such as Matt Carlino and Brock Zylstra, were able to get quality looks from deep. This USM zone is not an easy one to score on, and BYU was able to do so with ease.
As for the defensive end, the Cougars did a great job as well. Golden Eagles leading scorer Dwayne Davis had a rough night on the offensive side of the ball. Davis had only 8 points on 4 of 16 shooting. The senior also was an abysmal 0-5 from the 3-point line, and turned the ball over 4 times while only contributing 1 assist. Davis’s inability to become a consistent offensive threat was highly detrimental the Golden Eagles effort in this contest. BYU should be very content with their effort in containing USM’s most potent scorer.
The BYU Cougars will travel to Madison Square Garden to play the Baylor Bears in the semifinals of the NIT. This is a rematch of a December 21st matchup in which Baylor took down BYU 79-64. The game will be played on Tuesday, April 2nd at 7 P.M. ET.