Cougars bounced out of NCAA Tournament with 87-68 loss to Oregon
Milwaukee • Matt Carlino was heating up, open 3-point shots that rattled out in the first half were beginning to fall, and the mostly red-clad crowd of 17,749 at the Bradley Center was on its feet, urging the upset-minded BYU Cougars to complete their comeback from an early 14-point deficit.
BYU was within three points, remarkably, given the way the Cougars were shooting and defending.
Then came the longest timeout in Carlino's life.
"We were just sitting there those timeouts are really long in the tournament," Carlino said. "We were thinking, 'Let us get back on the court. We're hot.' I think we just kind of lost a little juice after that timeout. After that, we couldn't get back in it. They just kind of put us away."
And so ended 10th-seeded BYU's short-lived run in the NCAA Tournament, as seventh-seeded Oregon exploded past the Cougars in the final 12 minutes to take an 87-68 win in the Round of 64 game.
"They were better than us tonight, so give them credit," Carlino said.
Oregon (24-9) moves on to play Wisconsin on Saturday in front of what will basically be a home crowd for the Badgers, while BYU (23-12) extended its nation-leading run of playing in the most NCAA Tournaments, 28, without ever making it to the Final Four.
"It sucks losing," said BYU freshman Eric Mika, who battled foul trouble to score 15 points mostly on 11 of 16 shooting from the free-throw line in 25 minutes. "No one likes losing. I hate losing, and it sucks that this run with these guys is over, because it is going to be a lot different when I come back from my mission [to Rome]."
The Cougars lost because they shot 32.8 percent from the field, after shooting 47.2 percent in that 100-96 loss to the Ducks in Eugene three months ago, and because another no-name player went off on them, like so many other role guys have before in this roller-coaster season for coach Dave Rose's team. Oregon's Elgin Cook, who was averaging 6.3 points per game, came off the bench to score a career-high 23 points on 8 of 9 shooting from the field, 7 of 10 from the free-throw line.
"Yes, we did have a scouting report for him," BYU's Tyler Haws said adamantly in the post-game news conference. "He's a really good player, got to the foul line and found a way to get easy buckets."
Meanwhile, Haws worked like a dog for his touches without second-leading scorer Kyle Collinsworth (season-ending knee injury) on the court to take some pressure off his backcourt mate. Seeing intense defensive pressure after he lit the Ducks up for 32 in Eugene, Haws went 7 of 18 from the field en route to a team-high 19 points.
"We shot 33 percent from the field, and we are a much better shooting team than that," Rose said. "You have to give Oregon a lot of credit for how they contested our shots."
Aside from the spurt where he brought the Cougars back in the second half with a pair of 3-pointers sandwiched around a putback by Mika that cut the deficit to 56-53, Carlino also struggled to make shots. He was 4 of 16 from the field and freshman Frank Bartley IV, who have the Cougars 10 unexpected points, was 3 of 10.
"We had the momentum [going into the timeout], but they got revved up," Carlino said. "Their coaches probably told them what they needed to do to stop us, and they did."
And that was it for the Cougars, who were out to prove they belonged after national critics said they were over-seeded without Collinsworth.
"We didn't get it done," Haws said. "All the credit goes to Oregon. They just beat us."