Los Angeles • Hey college basketball coaches: looking to have one of your players go off for a career-high game?
Schedule the BYU Cougars.
After giving up career games to the likes of Stanford’s Chasson Randle, Utah’s Jordan Loveridge, UMass’ Chaz Williams, and Oregon’s Jason Calliste, the Cougars saw a no-name freshman — no name until now, anyway — torch them for 27 points on Saturday, as they fell 87-76 to Loyola Marymount at Gersten Pavilion.
Evan Payne is his name, and confounding the Cougars with an array of 3-pointers and hard drives to the basket was his game, as the 6-foot-2 guard from Akron, Ohio, served notice that he, and perhaps the Lions, will be a force to be reckoned with in the West Coast Conference this season.
Payne was just 6 of 18 from the field, but made up for that by going 5 of 9 from beyond the arc and 10 of 12 from the free-throw line to score the fourth-most points for a freshman in school history.
"Evan really got going, and we knew when we were recruiting him that he was capable of really taking over [games]," said LMU coach Max Good. "For the most part, he stayed within his game and hit open shots."
BYU coach Dave Rose said some film study showed the Cougars that Anthony Ireland and Payne could hurt them offensively, and they were right.
"We knew he was a really good scorer, and really good with the ball," Rose said. "I thought that they isolated us really well and then attacked us. … I mean, those two guards really controlled the pace of the game."
Payne’s 3-pointer with 15 minutes remaining in the second half proved to be the dagger, after Kyle Collinsworth had scored seven straight points to get the Cougars to within 12.
"I really like how aggressive he is," Collinsworth said. "He gives himself opportunities to make plays for himself and others. He is young, but he is super good."
At least, he was against the Cougars.
But there’s probably a line for that.
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