Heading into Saturday night’s game at No. 13 Oregon, the Cougars figured they needed to play close to a perfect game to spring the upset at Matthew Knight Arena.
Well, missing 14 free throws simply does not qualify.
The Cougars went 22 of 36 from the charity stripe, and fell 100-96 in overtime in front of 8,035 in Eugene.
"This one hurts. We felt like we had it for most of the game, and just let it slip away," said Tyler Haws, who led the Cougars with a game-high 32 points on 13 of 21 shooting.
Haws was 5 for 5 from the free-throw line and Matt Carlino was 3 for 4, missing his last one on purpose.
The rest of the crew was 14 of 27.
"Practice. Just practice," coach Dave Rose said when he was asked what can be done about misfires from the stripe.
The Cougars’ other glaring problem was turnovers. They had 18 of them, while Oregon had just 10. The Ducks came up with 12 steals.
In overtime, after Nate Austin and Eric Mika had fouled out, the Ducks went to work on the offensive glass, and scored four big points on second-chance opportunities.
Even then, BYU won the rebounding battle 51-40.
"Yeah, that definitely had a big effect on us. We get a lot smaller when those guys leave. They got some rebounds that we should have got. But our guys fought and battled all game long," Haws said.
Carlino especially went hard to the glass, collecting 11 rebounds, Austin had 12 boards before fouling out and Mika had 13 points and eight boards before his foul with 1.8 seconds left on Elgin Cook sent him to the bench as well.
"They did a really good job of just driving that ball at us," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "We were in foul trouble, and we had a bunch of different lineups in there. They took advantage of it."
I asked Rose what he said to the Cougars in the somber post-game locker room.
"I said we played hard enough to win," Rose said. "We competed, and we just need to play better. We need to make plays all throughout the game. Everybody had opportunities, from rebounding the ball, to defending, and executing the game plan, and free throws. I mean, there are a lot of ways ….
Everybody will think about the last couple of plays, but we had a lot of chances."
BYU lost the game because it didn’t make free throws, and because it didn’t take care of the ball in crunch time, didn’t get the ball into the right hands and didn’t make a field goal in the last four minutes of regulation after Carlino’s 3-pointer made it 81-76 with 4:05 left.
But a lot of folks will remember the field goal that might have been. Freshman Frank Bartley IV drove hard to the rim and apparently scored with 48 seconds left in the second overtime. However, was called for charging, the bucket wiped off the scoreboard.
Rose’s take: "I will have to take a look at it. There were some pretty hard fouls tonight, too. I am trying to figure out what’s what."
Tyler Haws’ take: "That call is so 50-50 that I don’t even know. I mean you can’t blame the game on one play. They just made the plays to win the game, and it hurts."
All for now. More tomorrow.
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