BYU prevents upset from brewing


Brigham Young made sure there would be no Colorado State encore.

A day after the Rams women's team scored a monumental upset of top-seeded Utah in the Mountain West Conference Tournament, the Cougars sent Colorado State packing 89-62 in the men's quarterfinals Thursday at the Thomas & Mack Center.

BYU (26-6), the regular-season champion, will play No. 3 seed San Diego State in today's 6:30 p.m. semifinal.

If the ninth-seeded Rams' victory over Wyoming in the men's play-in game Wednesday didn't get the top-seeded Cougars' attention, the Colorado State women's 60-52 shocker over Utah certainly did.

"Our players in our team meeting (Wednesday) were all talking about that score when I came into the room," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "I think one of the big challenges at this time of the year is to get your team to play with its utmost sense of urgency."

The Cougars went on a 26-6 run during the first 8:19 of the second half to pull away after leading 40-34 at halftime.

Colorado State (7-25) committed 13 turnovers, leading to 26 BYU points.

"We told our guys when it got away from us that we really played bad offense," Rams coach Tim Miles said. "We took bad shots, made bad decisions, forced a shot instead of stopping and finding the next open guy. When you do that, you play right into their hands."

The Cougars' willingness to make the extra pass and find the open man, particularly in transition, led to 23 assists and five players scoring in double figures.

"We took good shots," said forward Lee Cummard, who finished with 18 points. "I think the reason for that was we were making extra passes and being unselfish. It's not very hard to shoot a wide-open shot because your teammates pass up a shot for a better shot."

Guard Sam Burgess, who had 13 points, agreed: "Our transition game really opened up the floor for everybody. With the extra passes, somebody was wide open."

Colorado State kept the game close in the first half behind 6-for-11 3-point shooting.

But BYU adjusted and applied better defensive pressure on the Rams' perimeter shooters after halftime.

Colorado State shot 1-for-8 from beyond the arc in the second half.

The Rams didn't have any players in double figures. Durango High School product Andre McFarland, Marcus Walker, Adam Nigon and Willis Gardner scored nine points apiece.

"As the buzzer went off, I said, 'Ding-dong! the witch is dead.' '' Miles said. "I just have this visual of the house coming out of the tornado and falling on the Wicked Witch of the West. Maybe that will translate into slippers next year. That's the optimist in me."

Contact reporter Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or (702) 387-2913.

 

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