Basketball • Lions held to just two offensive in 2nd half.
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Provo • To BYU guard Matt Carlino, one of Loyola Marymount's early possessions on Thursday night seemed like it lasted three minutes.
Coach Dave Rose looked at the stat sheet and couldn't believe his eyes: LMU had eight offensive rebounds in the game's first 10 minutes.
When the Cougars got that little problem fixed, however, there was no stopping them.
The Lions grabbed just two offense rebounds in the second half, and were not much of a threat after taking an early 11-5 lead. Using an eventual 55-28 advantage on the glass, the Cougars coasted to a 92-51 win in the West Coast Conference opener for both clubs.
"I thought we did a really good job of limiting them to just one shot [in the final 25 to 30 minutes]," Rose said. "I thought that was the difference in the game, the fact that they are a really good offensive rebounding team, and they can kind of control the boards and score from there ... and we were able to kind of shut that down, and it led to quite a few fast-break baskets for us."
Starting forward Josh Sharp led the way with a career-high 12 rebounds, including eight on the offensive end. The school record for offensive boards in a game is nine, shared by Ken Roberts, Jared Miller, Ron Selleaze and Steve Schreiner.
"He can jump," Carlino said of Sharp. "He reminds me of [NBA veteran] Dennis Rodman, but without the tattoos. Utah people might not like that [reference], but that's what I think. He's a great rebounder."
Brandon Davies battled through a sprained ankle to grab nine rebounds, and Tyler Haws also collected nine caroms.
LMU's leading rebounder was Chase Flint, the former Davis High and College of Eastern Utah star, who had seven but did not score and went 0 for 8 from the field.
"I think we focused on [rebounding] as a team," Sharp said. "That's something I can help the team with. They just came to me tonight."
So did another big roar from the crowd, after Sharp followed Saturday's SportsCenter-making dunk with another jam in the second half. He finished with seven points on 3-for-5 shooting.
Carlino joked that the new home jerseys, which the Cougars wore for just the third time, is the reason for their improved play of late, then added: "We are getting better, and it is a good time to start getting better."
Up next is a road game on Saturday at San Francisco, which dropped its league opener to Santa Clara on Wednesday.