NIT: BYU will host Mercer on Monday
Provo • Immediately after leading BYU to a 90-79 win over Washington on Tuesday night in a National Invitation Tournament first-round game, Matt Carlino said he was looking forward to playing No. 2 seed Tennessee in the second round.
The sophomore point guard spoke a little too soon, and he won't get his wish. The seventh-seeded Mercer Bears upset Tennessee 75-67 in Knoxville on Wednesday night and will make the trip to Provo to take on the Cougars.
The second-round game will be played on Monday at 7 p.m., BYU confirmed late Wednesday, but ticket information and broadcast plans were not immediately announced.
Mercer is in Macon, Ga., and was the regular-season champion in the Atlantic Sun Conference, but lost to Florida Gulf Coast in the championship game of the conference tournament. The Bears (24-11) made a postseason trip to Utah last March, defeating Utah State 70-67 in overtime in the championship game of the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.
The Bears will meet BYU coming off one of its best performances of the season.
Carlino played brilliantly in the second half Tuesday, finishing with 20 points, nine assists and seven rebounds.
The Cougars (22-11) are 8-0 whenever Carlino scores 20 points or more, but he wasn't Tuesday's only hero. Tyler Haws scored 37 points to push his season total to 706 points, the sixth-highest single-season total in school history.
"Our goal is to get back to the Garden," Haws said, referring to New York City's Madison Square Garden, where the NIT semifinals are held each year. "I'm feeling good about where our team is at. ... Our guys were hungry and ready to play. We want to keep playing basketball."
Brandon Davies scored 22 points and grabbed nine rebounds to make sure his college career would last at least one more game. Like Carlino, Davies played especially well in the second half after the Huskies took a 35-33 halftime lead.
"Guys were diving on the floor, getting rebounds," Haws said. "We were hungry, and we wanted to win this game just to continue to advance in the tournament."
Mercer at BYU
O NIT second round
Monday, 7 p.m.