It happened against Iowa State in Provo, then against Wichita State in Kansas City and Oregon in Eugene on Saturday night. The BYU baskeball team had leads of 10 points or more against all three ranked teams, but couldn't finish. In last night's 100-96 overtime loss to No. 13 Oregon, the Cougars (8-5) had the 10-point lead with 15 minutes left in the second half. They had a seven-point lead with four minutes left. Both evaporated. "Gosh, I thought we fought a lot better than we did last game [against Utah]," Tyler Haws said. "I think we made a lot of improvements. We played 38 minutes of the game, and didn't finish it out. .. They just made shots. They made plays when they needed to, and you got to give them some credit. They made the plays to win the game." Coach Dave Rose said the Cougars have to learn how to close out games. "We have to stay together and these losses have to mean something," Rose said. "We have to learn from these losses. If we can learn from these losses and in conference get those big wins, then these losses can mean something for us." Haws scored 32 points, the fifth time in his career he has surpassed the 30-point plateau. He's now had 37 games of 20 points or more, sixth-most in BYU history. He also passed Roland Minson and Jay Cheesman on the school's career scoring list, and is now in 16th place with 1,432. "This team can be really good," Haws said. "When we play together and play hard, we can compete with anyone, I feel like. But I feel like we have learned a lot in this preseason. If we can learn from it and stick together, I think we will be fine." The Cougars had a new wrinkle offensively for the Ducks, playing Kyle Collinsworth at the point guard spot for most of the game, and Matt Carlino at the two-guard instead of the point. Will Dave Rose use that scheme more in WCC play?"We will see," he said. "We are just trying to find the right combination so we can stay on the right track." For his part, Carlino said the Cougars worked on that alignment in practice and were ready for it. "I talked to coach Rose about that, and I think it helped us here tonight," Carlino said. "Still, I need more reps there because I don't feel completely comfortable, but I did expect that, because that's what we practiced." Will Carlino, a junior, accept the new role? "I mean, as long as it helps the team," he said. "I think we played hard tonight. Like I said, it was those 50-50 balls there for a stretch. We just need to keep getting better everyone personally and as a team. We had a good week of practice and I think if we keep improving we can be a dangerous team." Carlino is now in 12th place on BYU's career 3-pointers list, having passed Randy Reid with two on Saturday night. He's eighth in 3-point attempts. Here are a few more of Rose's postgame comments: On the tough loss:"Our guys competed. Yeah, we competed hard the whole night."On the mindset of the guys going into overtime:"The most important thing was to get all their minds right, that we were lucky to be in overtime, instead of feeling sorry for yourself. [Elgin] Cook missed both free throws, and could have ended the game right there. I thought our guys came out and started overtime with a good mindset. We were able to score, and the tough part of the game was trying to get stops." On keeping Johnathan Loyd under wraps:"Yeah, but he got loose. His deal is that if he can find shooters. He found [Jason] Calliste and [Joseph] Young several times off penetration when we had to help. We needed to do a better job of containing him. He was a real catalyst. It was hard to stay in front of him."On playing ranked teams close but not getting any rewards and whether that will carry over into conference play:"I hope not. I hope our guys go in with a lot of confidence. But we got to improve. We have a lot of inexperienced guys who are trying to grow up on the job here. We need to use them and play them a lot, and hopefully we will see a little difference here after Christmas."On bouncing back from this tough loss:"This is tough. It's really a tough loss. Our guys played hard enough and well enough, but the bottom line is that's a game that got away. The guys feel really bad about it and hopefully we can recover and get started and get rolling for league because this is a tough one."
On starting WCC play next Saturday:
"There's no wiggle room here now. We jump right into this thing next Saturday in the league on the road. They're really important games for us. We not only have to play well, but we have to finish the game and win."