Provo • At the end, Brandon Davies and Tyler Haws were flirting with career highs in scoring, Matt Carlino and Josh Sharp were battling it out for the BYU basketball team's most-improved player award, and coach Dave Rose was wondering if he left his superstar in the game a tad too long.
But the most unforgettable aspect of the Cougars' 80-62 win over Georgia State on Tuesday night in front of 13,181 at the Marriott Center was the beginning.
The Cougars jumped to a 31-2 lead.
"I think it surprised all of us, that the score was what it was early," Rose said.
The 2-0 Cougars, who seemingly missed the rim as often as they hit it last year on long-range shots, made their first five 3-pointers and held the Panthers (0-2) to just one field goal in the game's first 10 minutes. Carlino keyed the defensive effort with a career-high four steals, and three layups off those turnovers, as BYU made the visitors from Atlanta look like a church-league team.
"That's exactly what we drew up and what we wanted to do," said Davies, who finished with nine rebounds and 28 points, one point shy of his career high. Davies took a few hard falls during the game but was OK.
Georgia State, which lost 74-55 at No. 8 Duke last week, recovered nicely after its horrible start and was more than competitive in the contest's last 30 minutes. But the damage was done.
"I thought we got hesitant at times … and we went too many possessions without getting the ball inside like we like to get it inside," Rose said.
With Manny Atkins (21 points), Devonta White (14) and coach's son R.J. Hunter (12) heating up, the Panthers trimmed the huge BYU lead to 56-45 with 9:08 remaining, only to see Carlino hit a big 3-pointer, Davies block Atkins' dunk attempt and Sharp follow a miss with a putback basket. BYU cruised from there.
Rose said he was most pleased with the Cougars' play in the first 10 minutes and the last 10 minutes.
"We will build on that," he said, looking forward to the resumption of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on Friday at the new Barclay's Center in Brooklyn against Florida State.
Storylines BYU 80, Georgia State 62
R BYU jumps to a 31-2 lead and coasts from there to an easy win over Georgia State.