The BYU Men’s Basektball season is over, but the Cougars have no reason to hang their heads. BYU caps off their great season by making it to the semifinals of the NIT. They fell to the Baylor Bears in the semifinals by a score of 76-70.
The game started out a little slow and sloppy, but that certainly was not the case for senior forward Brandon Davies. Davies was everywhere on the floor, blocking shots and converting missed shots into dunks. Despite his hot start, he was not able to sustain this high level of play throughout the whole game. Davies finished the game with 13 points on 4 of 11 shooting, and 5 rebounds. He also struggled with foul trouble the entire game. All in all, it was a disappointing final game to complete Davies career as a Cougar.
On the bright side of things, Tyler Haws and Nate Austin had pretty decent games. Haws scored 25 points on 9 of 15 shooting. Austin had 9 points, as well as 11 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. These two players are only sophomores, and will certainly be building blocks in the future years for this BYU team; this game was a great indicator of that.
With the game deadlocked at 7 minutes and 40 seconds left, a close finish seemed imminent. Much to the dismay of BYU fans, Baylor went on a 12-2 run to generate a 10 point lead. This run was led by Pierre Jackson, who crossed over Brock Zylstra to open himself up for a 2 point jumper, which he subsequently made, and knocked down a 3-point jumper on the following possession. That was the insinuated dagger for BYU. The Cougars were not able to recover from this, despite two Matt Carlino’s threes with under two minutes to play. Pierre Jackson was 5 of 6 on free throws with under a minute to play, a large reason why Baylor was able to ice the game.
Moving forward, the Cougars will most likely return Tyler Haws, Matt Carlino, and Nate Austin, all of which are sophomores. Freshman Cory Calvert will also return. BYU will lose three prominent seniors: Brandon Davies, Craig Cusick, and Brock Zylstra. The Cougars finish the season with a record of 24-12.
Although they fell short in the NIT semifinals, BYU had a fantastic season and the Cougar players and coaches should be extremely proud. Once again, congratulations to the BYU Men’s Basketball team, you represented the WCC very well this entire season.