PROVO — Despite double-figure scoring from three Cougars, BYU fell to No. 22/21 Saint Mary’s 70-57 at the Marriott Center on Saturday night, with the Gaels connecting on 10 (often wide open) 3-pointers and hitting 47 percent of their shots.
“Obviously it was a very disappointing loss for us,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “I think our guys were ready to play and we had a plan. I thought we went after their big guys pretty well. We thought that if we could get them in foul trouble in the first half that we could maybe make a run for them. We got to their second and third post guys and we didn’t take advantage of the opportunities we had.”
The Cougars (19-10, 10-6 West Coast Conference) outrebounded the Gaels (24-3, 14-2 WCC) 37 to 32, while Saint Mary’s shot 47.2 percent from the field to BYU’s 39.7.
Eric Mika led the way for the Cougars with a game-high 18 points and five rebounds. Yoeli Childs finished the contest with 13 points and a game-high seven rebounds. TJ Haws tallied 11 points, going 1 of 3 from behind the arc.
Saint Mary’s Calvin Hermanson led the Gaels with 17 points and six rebounds. Evan Fitzner also scored in double digits for Saint Mary’s, finishing the game with 15 points.
“[Saint Mary’s] is good,” Mika said. “They are really good, up there with the best defensive teams we have played. Tonight showed that. They played awesome on defense. They got us out of rhythm and I think we all know they are well coached and a super disciplined team both on offense and tonight they definitely showed it on defense.”
The Cougars scored first to take the early 1-0 lead as Childs went 1 of 2 from the free throw line. Both teams then went back and forth trading baskets before Saint Mary’s jumped out to the four-point 11-7 lead.
BYU responded by scoring five-straight points, retaking the lead, 12-11, as Mika converted a 3-point play.
Saint Mary’s went on a run of its own, scoring four quick points. Elijah Bryant silenced the Gaels run with a trey to make the score 16-15 in Saint Mary’s favor with 12:34 left in the half.
After a 10-3 Gael run, Mika sank two free throws to bring BYU back within six, 26-20. On the next Cougar possession, Bryant hit his second 3 of the game, cutting the Saint Mary’s advantage to three, 26-23.
The Gaels continued to execute their efficient offensive attack to extend their lead to double digits, 38-28. Following a Childs finish at the basket for the Cougars, the Gaels pushed the lead to a 41-30 advantage going into halftime.
In the early going of the second half Mika brought the Cougars within single digits, 45-36, as the sophomore finished a running hook over Jock Landale.
Saint Mary’s continued to shoot well in the second half and pushed the lead to 18, 58-40, as the Gaels hit their ninth 3-point field goal of the contest. The Gaels increased their lead to a game-high 25 at the 7:25 mark in the second half.
A Childs dunk off of an assist by Nick Emery brought BYU within 17, 69-52, with 2:42 to go in the contest. The Cougars bench helped close the gap in the closing moments to the 13-point final margin.
BYU men’s basketball will travel to Portland to take on the Pilots Thursday, Feb. 23. Teams will tip off at 8 p.m. MST. The game will be televised on ROOT RM and broadcast on the Cougar IMG Sports Network, KSL 102.7 FM/1160 AM and BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143. Links to media and live stats can be found on the BYU men’s basketball schedule page.
Eric Mika scored 18 points, extending his streak to 30 games scoring in double figures – every game this year and the last of his freshman season. He also blocked a shot, giving him at least one block in all but four games this season.
Yoeli Childs scored 13 points to give him double figures in his third-straight game and 11th overall. He added seven rebounds, one steal and one assist. Childs also blocked one shot, giving him a block in all but five games.
TJ Haws scored 11 points, reaching double figures for the ninth-consecutive game and 22nd time this season. Haws added two assists, one steal, one block and one rebound.
Dave Rose started TJ Haws, Nick Emery, Elijah Bryant, Yoeli Childs and Eric Mika. BYU fell to 2-2 when starting that lineup.
BYU trailed 41-30 at the half, dropping to 2-9 this season when behind at halftime.
The Cougars’ 57 points were a season low.
The loss to Saint Mary’s ended a streak of three consecutive wins against the Gaels in the Marriott Center.
The team honored seniors L.J. Rose and Kyle Davis prior to the game. Neither were able to play due to injury.
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