LAS VEGAS — No. 3 seed BYU men’s basketball fell to No. 2 seed and No. 19/18 ranked Saint Mary’s 81-50 in the semifinals of the West Coast Conference Championships as the Gaels hot-shooting proved to be too much for the Cougars on Monday night at the Orleans Arena.
"We were a couple steps slow in everything we did," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "We had a difficult time making a basket to start the game. This is a young team that gets a lot of energy from scoring points, and it’s hard to score against these guys. The guys played hard for a while, but I am disappointed in how we responded to challenges early in the first half."
Yoeli Childs scored the first Cougar basket after an early 4-0 Gael run. Both teams struggled to find their groove offensively as BYU began the game shooting 1 of 8, while Saint Mary’s started 2 of 7.
The Cougars trailed by 10, 12-2, before Bryant scored a tough left-handed layup followed by a 3-point play by Haws to bring BYU within seven, 14-7.
After Saint Mary’s stretched its lead to 14, 25-11, Haws drained a deep 3-pointer to end BYU’s three-minute scoring drought. With 4:21 to go in the half, Haws hit his second 3 to bring the Cougars within eight, 25-17.
The Gaels responded with six-straight points from Jock Landale and a trey from Calvin Hermanson to take the 34-19 lead with 1:48 on the clock. BYU trailed Saint Mary’s 36-20 after 20 minutes of play.
Saint Mary’s opened the half shooting 4 of 4 from the floor to achieve the 45-22 advantage. After a layup by Mika, the Gaels went on 12-2 run to take the 31-point 57-26 lead.
At the 10:33 mark, Davin Guinn hit his second of back-to-back treys to match two 3s from Evan Fitzner. Saint Mary’s went 7 of 9 from 3-point line to start the second half.
After a Saint Mary’s bucket, Nick Emery found Mika for the dunk to make the score 73-42. The Gaels shot 70.8 percent from the floor in the second half.
BYU men’s basketball awaits a potential postseason bid that would be announced on Sunday.
BYU basketball will face No. 2 seed Saint Mary's Monday at 8:30 p.m. PST in the semifinals of the WCC Basketball Championships at the Orleans Arena in Las Vegas. Monday's game will be televised live on ESPN2 and broadcast live on the Cougar IMG Sports Network, 102.7 FM/1160 AM and BYU Radio – Sirius XM 143.
BYU defeated Loyola Marymount 89-81 Saturday in the quarterfinals of the WCC Championships. Eric Mika led five scorers in double figures with 25 points. It marks the fourth-straight season the Cougars have advanced to the semifinals of the WCC Championships. BYU reached the title game in 2014 and 2015.
This marks the first time BYU has faced Saint Mary’s at the WCC Championships. Other schools BYU has yet to face at the Championships are Pepperdine and Pacific.
BYU Cougars (22-10, 12-6 WCC)
- Head Coach: Dave Rose
- Alma Mater: Houston, 1983
- Division I Career Record: 305-109 (12th)
- Record at BYU: Same
Saint Mary's Gaels (27-3, 16-2 WCC)
- Head Coach: Randy Bennett
- Alma Mater: UC San Diego, 1986
- Career Record: 360-154 (16th)
- Record at Saint Mary's: Same
- TV: ESPN2
- TV Talent: Dave O’Brien (play-by-play), Jon Barry (analyst), Jeff Goodman (analyst)
- Live Video: WatchESPN.com
- Radio: Cougar IMG Sports Network, 102.7 FM/1160 AM, BYU Radio, Sirius XM 143
- Radio Talent: Greg Wrubell (play-by-play), Mark Durrant (analyst)
- Live Stats: BYUcougars.com
Series Record: BYU leads 12-10
Last Meeting: SMC won 70-57, 2/18/17