College basketball • 2nd-half slump dooms Cougars in 86-83 loss.
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Provo • There were the 13 3-pointers on just 25 attempts from a team not known for its outside shooting, 28 points inside and out from future NBA player Perry Jones III and some maddening moments for the home team and its frenzied supporters down the stretch when most of the breaks went the visitors' way.
But what really doomed the BYU Cougars in their dramatic and thoroughly entertaining 86-83 home loss to the No. 6 Baylor Bears in front of a sell-out crowd of 22,700 at the Marriott Center on Saturday was pretty much the same thing that caused their other two losses this season.
A second-half drought.
Sure, 6-foot-9 BYU center Brandon Davies' 3-point attempt to tie was blocked from the side by Baylor's 5-10 Pierre Jackson as the clock ran out, silencing the ear-splitting crowd after A.J. Walton missed a free throw on the other end with eight seconds left.
But this one got away from the Cougars 12 minutes before that, and just after they had taken a 64-56 lead on a Matt Carlino 3-pointer with 12:33 remaining and were seemingly in control again after blowing a 13-point first-half lead. The Cougars didn't score the next four minutes and 40 seconds, allowing Baylor to go on a 10-0 run and seize all the momentum, just as Utah State did in the opener and Wisconsin did three weeks ago.
"Our guys are really disappointed in the locker room, and they should be, because they believed we would come in here and win the game," said coach Dave Rose. "We were close."
But Baylor (9-0) was just better down the stretch after BYU scratched back from a nine-point deficit to get within a point, 84-83, with 1:50 remaining on a basket by Charles Abouo.
The Cougars failed to score on their last three possessions: Carlino threw the ball away (a gamelong BYU habit) and missed a 3-pointer that was in and out, and Davies got the last chance after Abouo dished off after driving inside the three-point line.
On the other end, the Cougars let the 6-11 Jones rebound a miss with a putback for his 27th and 28th points of the game after BYU had dominated the boards the first 39-plus minutes.
"I thought that Baylor made some terrific plays, especially right down the stretch," Rose said. "Not only offensive plays, but defensive plays. ... We competed, and we had quite a few chances there. We just came up a play or two short."
In his college basketball debut, Carlino made some plays that directly led to the loss, but also helped the Cougars make it close in the first place, scoring 18 points to go with his four turnovers.
"It was amazing, but it was a loss, and that's all people are going to remember," Carlino said after scoring 15 of his points in the second half.
The Cougars worried all week about the size and athleticism of Jones, Quincy Acy (eight points) and Quincy Miller (eight points) inside, then won the rebounding battle 44-31 and had 24 second-chance points to Baylor's 12. What they didn't figure was Canadian Brady Heslip hitting 6 of 10 3-pointers for a career-high 18 points.
"This is my first year of college of college basketball, but that's the loudest gym I have ever played in," Heslip said. "That's a great team on the other side, and those fans are second to none."
But on a chilly December day in Provo, Baylor was just a little bit better.
No. 6 Baylor 86, BYU 83
R In short • A sellout crowd of 22,700 watches No. 6 Baylor edge past BYU with 13 three-pointers.
Key moment • BYU goes scoreless during a four-minute, 40-second stretch in the second half.
Key stat • The Cougars have given up runs of 10-0 or more in the second half in all three of their losses.