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Jay Drew
Jay covers BYU athletics for The Salt Lake Tribune. You can follow him on Twitter @drewjay.

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BYU starts fast, finishes strong to wallop Georgia State, 80-62

The tendency would be to say it was easy for the BYU Cougars on Tuesday night in their 80-62 win over visiting Georgia State in front of 13,181 at the Marriott Center.

The Cougars jumped to a 31-2 lead (yes, 31-2) and improved to 2-0 with an 18-point win over a team that lost by 19 at No. 8 Duke a few days ago.

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But there were some tense moments for the Cougars, believe it or not, as Georgia State showed some impressive resiliency and battled back to cut the deficit to 11 points with just under nine minutes remaining in the game.

The Cougars righted themselves with a three-pointer by Matt Carlino and a putback by Josh Sharp, and then mostly coasted after that.

Brandon Davies scored 28 points, one shy of his career high, and Tyler Haws added 22, two shy of his all-time best. Matt Carlino had 11 points and seven assists and the Cougars shot a sizzling 51.7 percent from the field.

More importantly, perhaps, BYU was 8-for-20 (40 percent) from three-point range.

Georgia State shot just 35.4 percent from the field, including 3 of 22 from three-point range.

Obviously, GSU coach Ron Hunter said the start did the Panthers in.

"They start killed us," he said. "One of the reasons we wanted to play here and we wanted to play at Duke was we wanted to show our young guys what it's about. I thought that BYU was ready to go early. We were shell-shocked and had to settle down. Once we settled down, I thought we were pretty good. I thought we were able to play with them."

Someone asked Hunter to compare BYU and Duke.

"Two veteran teams. I think BYU shoots the ball better than Duke, to be honest with you, but both places are two tough places to play."

There were a few scary moments late for BYU fans, coaches and players as Davies went down hard a couple of times in the game's final five minutes.

One particular time, the big guy banged his knee hard against the padded basketball standard at the east end. He grabbed at his left knee momentarily, but said he was OK in the postgame news conference.

"It was a little scary, but there's a lot of padding, thank goodness," he said.

Rose pulled him out of the game for good after the collision.

The coach said you can't think about a player getting hurt, because that takes away his aggressiveness, but acknowledged it was difficult to watch BYU's best player go down hard a couple times.

"It does cross your mind that maybe that's enough for tonight," Rose said.

For the second straight game, Rose had a lot of postgame praise for point guard Matt Carlino, who now has 17 assists in two games.

"Terrific for first two games," Rose said of Carlino. "You see a bigger, stronger, more experienced guy out there."

The coach was OK with BYU's 16 turnovers because the Cougars assisted on 21 of their 31 made baskets. And Georgia State's forte is turning teams over.

"The way they play is they are trying to turn you over. That's what they do," Rose said. "They got 13 steals tonight, and that's about the average for their team over the last couple years. Coach Hunter tries to get plays to turn guys over and we turned it over quite a few times because of the pressure they put on us."



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