Viejas Arena San Diego CA 92115
SAN -- In their first NCAA Tournament appearance since 1995, the No. 12 seeded BYU men's basketball team lost to the No. 5 seeded Cincinnati Bearcats, 84-59, in first-round action at San Diego State's Cox Arena on Thursday night.
Mekeli Wesley, the Mountain West Conference Player of the Year, led the Cougars with 25 points. But the shooting of Cincinnati's Kenny Satterfield and Steve Logan were too much for BYU as the two Cincinnati guards combined for 6 of 10 shooting from behind the three-point line and scored 35 points in all.
The Cougars started the game scoring first when Terrell Lyday hit Nate Knight for an easy lay-up on BYU's first possession. The Bearcats came back when Satterfield hit a three-pointer and B.J. Grove hit a jumper and a dunk to put Cincinnati up 7-2. Cincinnati extended the lead to eight points, but the Cougars came back to cut the lead to five at the half, 35-30.
In the second half, Cincinnati caught on fire from three-point range, connecting on nearly 60 percent of their shots from beyond the arc. The Bearcats had 11 three-point field goals in the game. BYU, on the other hand, shot well under their season average from three-point land, hitting only 33 percent. Cincinnati also out-rebounded the Cougars 32-24.
The senior trio of Wesley, Lyday and Trent Whiting scored 49 of BYU's 59 points, with Whiting and Lyday adding 12 points each. Freshman Daniel Bobik added six points and Knight and Travis Hansen each had two. B.J. Grove and Antwan Jones each added 11 points for Cincinnati.
Cincinnati advances to the second round and will play Kent State, who upset Indiana earlier in the day. That game will be played on Saturday in San Diego.
BYU (24-8) will play Cincinnati (23-9) in the NCAA First Round in San Diego, Calif., Thursday, March 15th. Game time will be announced Monday.
The Cougars are the 12th seed in the West Region while Cincinnati is the 5th seed. The winner of the BYU-Cincinnati game will advance to play the winner of No. 4 Indiana (21-12) vs. No. 13 Kent State (23-9) on Saturday.
Co-champion of the Mountain West Conference, BYU earned the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament by winning the MWC Tournament Saturday, defeating New Mexico 69-65. This will be BYU's 19th NCAA appearance, but its first since 1995. BYU has an 11-21 NCAA record, making its best showing in 1981 while advancing to the Elite Eight during Danny Ainge's senior season.
Cox Arena in San Diego is sold out for the NCAA First and Second Rounds. BYU's limited ticket allotment will be sold to Cougar Club members with availability based on membership level.
Club members may call the Cougar Club office at 378-2583 or 1-800-426-4298 to request tickets.
A small block of tickets for BYU students and faculty will be made available through a random drawing on Tuesday morning. BYU students and faculty who want to obtain tickets must apply for the drawing in person at the Marriott Center Ticket Office, Monday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Any remaining tickets will be made available to the general public beginning Tuesday morning.