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Louisville, Ky. • Damarcus Harrison scored a career-high 12 points in BYU's 78-72 win over Iona on Tuesday as the Cougars made their 27th NCAA Tournament appearance.

That personal record may have to stand awhile, however.

Harrison, a freshman from South Carolina, said Wednesday that he has decided to go on a two-year LDS Church mission this summer.

"I've decided that's the best thing for me to do at this point in my life," he said.

Harrison said when he signed with BYU in November of 2010 that a mission wasn't in his plans, but he had a change of heart a few months ago. The 6-foot-5 wing played 21 minutes Tuesday, tying his career high, and gave the Cougars a much-needed spark off the bench. He should see a similar amount of time Thursday when BYU tangles with Marquette at 12:45 p.m. at KFC Yum! Center.

"The last couple of practices, I have been feeling pretty good about myself," he said. "I just had that confidence going out there [Tuesday] night. I made that first [shot], and that just got me going."

Harrison made a pair of 3-pointers, a pair of two-pointers, and was 2 for 3 from the free-throw line. He's now 13 for 47 from 3-point range in his short BYU career.

"I think that the break, the eight or nine days without a game, really helped Damarcus in practice," coach Dave Rose said. "We were really worrying about ourselves, and Damarcus had a couple really good practices early, and then the last three practices he was one of the best guys on the floor."

His home in Greenwood, S.C., is about a 10-hour drive away from Louisville, but Harrison said his family won't be able to make the trip north to see him play on Thursday.

"Too short of notice for them to get here," he said.

Rose said he knew Harrison would deliver if put in the right situation.

"I told you all along he's a really good player, and I think his confidence really grew," Rose said. "He stepped up in a really big atmosphere and had a great game, and a lot of that has to do with preparation."

A timely breakout

Damarcus Harrison's best games:

Date, Opponent Pts Reb Ast

Nov. 18-Longwood 11 1 1

Dec. 17-Baylor 8 3 2

Dec. 27-CSSM 8 3 1

March 13-Iona 12 3 1