It was a tough loss to swallow for the BYU Cougars tonight, as No. 21 Iowa State skated away from a crowd of 15,808 at the Marriott Center with a 90-88 win. BYU still hasn’t defeated a ranked nonconference opponent at home since 1986.
But the Cougars came awfully close on Wednesday, losing when Kyle Collinsworth’s off-balance shot at the buzzer came nowhere close to going in.
Coach Dave Rose and Tyler Haws said the Cougars didn’t make enough plays down the stretch to win, and they were right. They also didn’t make enough free throws, especially in the second half.
The Cougars were 2 of 6 from the charity stripe in the second half, including misses by Frank Bartley and Anson Winder in the final 1:11. For the game, BYU was just 12 of 20 from the free-throw line.
Tough to win games shooting that way.
Also, BYU was out rebounded 27-15 in the second half, despite having a nice size advantage. For the game, rebounds were 46-44 in favor of the Cyclones (4-0). BYU fell to 4-1.
Of importance to BYU fans, I am sure, is the status of freshman Eric Mika, who was taken to the hospital for an eye examination after taking a blow from DeAndre Kane. Kane was assessed a flagrant two foul and ejected.
Coach Dave Rose said Mika was scheduled to have a scan done on his right eye and had no other details.
"Eric did give us some real presence inside, scoring with the ball, but what he really did for us was offensive rebounds. He had five offensive rebounds. We missed quite a few short shots late that were right around the rim that Eric probably could have helped us with," Rose said, adding that Mika’s absence in the last 3:28 of the game "was a factor" in the outcome.
Mika had 17 points and nine rebounds when he left the game. Matt Carlino (19), Tyler Haws (20) and Kyle Collinsworth (11) also reached double figures. The Cougars shot just 42.9 percent, while Iowa State heated up considerably and finished shooting 51.4 percent.
"The big thing we talked to our team about with BYU is that it is going to be a game of runs. They can really heat up in a hurry. They are as fast a team as anybody in the nation, and they lived up to that tonight. They just score in bunches, and once that crowd gets into it, it is hard to stop them," said ISU coach Fred Hoiberg. "…I felt the two keys were getting back in transition, and finding a way to battle on the boards. … They are so good, and they are so well-coached, we are happy to walk out of here with a win."
Regarding Haws, Hoiberg said: "The kid is a big-time, big-time player. I thought we did as good a job as we possibly could against him, but he still scored a bunch of points."
Melvin Ejim had 21 points for ISU before fouling out late in the game. Just before sitting down for good, Ejim gave the Marriott Center crowd the middle finger, which might just land the star forward a suspension. Up next for ISU is a home game against Missouri-Kansas City.
DeAndre Kane could also be suspended for the Flagrant 2 personal foul, which the NCAA rule book defines as: "a personal foul that involves contact with an opponent that is not only excessive but also severe or extreme while the ball is live."
After the game, the officials issued the following statement: "In this situation we deemed the foul to be severe or extreme."
The officials were Gregory Nixon, Ken Ditty and Michael Reed, guys who have worked BYU games in the past.
BYU distributed comments from Rose, Haws and Nate Austin after the game. Here are some of those:
Rose’s opening statement:
"I’d like to congratulate Fred and his team. I thought they played a great game. I thought it was a hard fought battle and both teams really gave a great effort. We had quite a few chances there at the end to make a few plays and win the game, but it just seemed like they were a little bit better in their execution late in the game."
Rose on losing a close one:
"Our guys battled hard; they fought to the end. The resistance that Iowa State gave us was pretty strong. They were really tough around the rim. They were tough offensively and defensively. We gave up a couple of offensive rebounds late for scores that kind of broke our spirits a little bit, but our guys hung in there and we fought to the end but we were just a couple of plays short."
Rose on lack of rebounding in the second half:
"We rebounded the ball really well for about 30 minutes, then it seemed like the tide changed and they got a couple of really timely offensive rebounds. Those are things that we’ll look at and try and improve on. We had some opportunities at the free throw line we didn’t capitalize on. It’s a long season and this is one game in that season. We’ll use it now to try and make us get better. Our guys know that it was a real winnable game for us and we just kind of fell short."
Haws on what happened in the final five minutes:
"I don’t think the game got away from us. We knew we had a chance to win the game and we had our chances down the stretch. We just didn’t make the plays we needed to."
Haws on the second half:
"You have to give Iowa State a lot of credit. They’re tough guys, long, athletic and they had a great second half…. If we could have rebounded a little bit better we could have controlled the pace and tempo more in the second half."
Nate Austin on not being able to stop ISU in the final five minutes when they needed a stop:
"I tried to do my defensive work before the pass came in and push him off the block, but [Georges Niang] still scored a few times."
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