BYU defeated Division III Colorado College 94-59 in an exhibition match-up at the Marriott Center on Saturday night.
Leading the way for the Cougars was junior guard Matt Carlino with 23 points on 8 of 12 shooting. Carlino came out of the gate swinging as he sparked an 11-0 run to open the game for BYU.
What seemed to be an inevitable beat down, however, quickly turned into a game as Colorado College fought back. Using quick passes and a sharp half-court offense, the Tigers eventually took the lead.
The Cougars regained the lead with 9:25 left in the first half on a monster dunk by Nate Austin. The slam and subsequent and-one pushed the score to 26-24 in favor of the Cougars, and they went on to take a 49-39 lead into the half.
The main talking point of the game was defense.
Colorado College shot 50 percent from the field in the first half. As Coach Rose pointed out at halftime, the BYU big men had trouble defending the post. He also pointed out that the defense got lost at times as Colorado moved the ball.
The second half was a different story. BYU came out with renewed defensive intensity and shut down the precise attack of the Tigers. Colorado College struggled to mount any offense, going 6-28 from the field in the second half.
BYU’s fast pace eventually wore on the Tigers, and the Cougars dominated the second half to the tune of 45-20.
BOX SCORE NOTES
Five players scored in double digits for BYU – Carlino (23), Tyler Haws (14), Kyle Collinsworth (13), Anson Winder (13), and Luke Worthington (10).
Freshman phenom Eric Mika tallied six points, four rebounds and two blocks.
Collinsworth pulled down 11 rebounds to record a double-double. He also added 5 assists.
Eric Mika and Luke Worthington both recorded three fouls.
Coach Rose went with a 4-guard line up to start the game. Carlino, Haws, Winder, Collinsworth, and Mika started the game. Bartley and Austin were the first ones off the bench.
OBSERVATIONS AND COMMENTARY
The Cougars will need Eric Mika to show marked improvement on the defensive end. His athleticism allows him to recover well if he gets beat or gets lost, but he’ll need to adjust to the increased strength and skill of college big men. One can only imagine that the likes of Sam Dower, Brad Waldow, and Thomas Van Der Mars will be eager to take on the star freshman.
I noted the three fouls on Mika and Worthington because BYU only has four traditional big men on scholarship. That lack of depth puts a premium on being foul-free and injury-free.
While Eric Mika is getting all the publicity, Nate Austin may be as valuable. He’s got the experience, size, and tenacity to make a difference inside for the Cougars on both ends. The business really picked up in the second half when he entered.
The BYU offense will get as far as they let themselves. A handful of one-pass or no-pass possessions led to contested shots and no points. If they can pay more attention to getting open looks within that up-tempo offense, this team will be extremely dangerous on offense.
It’s easy to forget that Kyle Collinsworth has really good handles. He’ll be able to get Haws and Carlino some open looks. Cougar fans need not worry if Carlino’s assist totals are down, as Collinsworth’s will probably be up.
Some flashes of defensive goodness in the second half convinced me that Frank Bartley IV and Anson Winder will cause nightmares on the perimeter in the coming seasons. Granted, they were flying around against Colorado College, but those two were really getting after it. Both picked up two steals. Halford and Carlino got three steals a piece as well. Good instincts and hustle led to steals and tipped passes.