NIT • Just one bench player makes a basket as Cougars' Big Three account for 57 points.
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New York • The seldom talked-about aspect of BYU's remarkable National Invitation Tournament run was that the Cougars were doing it without much of a contribution from their non-starters.
That lack of production from the bench caught up to coach Dave Rose's team on Tuesday night at Madison Square Garden in an NIT semifinal game, as the Cougars fell 76-70 to Baylor.
Freshman guard Cory Calvert's layup in the first half accounted for the bench's only points of the game as the Cougars once again had to rely on their Big Three of Brandon Davies, Matt Carlino and Tyler Haws to carry the scoring load.
Those three combined for 57 points, while starter Nate Austin played a strong first half, scoring all nine of his points in the first 20 minutes. The other starter, Brock Zylstra, couldn't muster another great shooting night after riddling Southern Miss for 23 points last week and finished with just two points on 1-of-5 shooting.
"What we needed to do was take advantage of a lot of the open shots that we got," Rose said. "And a lot of it, give Baylor credit. They locked up some of our options and left Matt out there on his own. We might have had some good looks that I know we would like to have back."
Perhaps the biggest basket from a non-starter was the tip-in that Taurean Prince made just before the halftime buzzer that gave the Bears a 35-33 lead.
Rose focused on the positives in his postgame remarks, saying Austin played really well the last six weeks of the season, and Carlino was terrific for most of the NIT run.
"When you take the nucleus of that group as far as Nate and Matty and Ty, all being second-year guys, what's next as far as these guys go [is promising]."
firstname.lastname@example.org BYU's scoring in NIT
Opponent Bench Start
Washington 5 85
Mercer 4 86
So. Miss 0 79
Baylor 2 68