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BYU basketball: Florida State exposes Cougars' lack of interior depth

BYU basketball: Florida State exposes Cougars' lack of interior depth



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The BYU Cougars traveled all the way across the country to face a pair of teams in this weekend's conclusion to the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

Once they got to New York City for the first game Friday, however, things didn't exactly go well.

Highly regarded Florida State blew past BYU and sprinted to an eventual 88-70 win at brand-new Barclays Arena.

The Cougars started off poorly, with star center Brandon Davies heading to the bench after picking up two quick fouls. After Davies sat down, Florida State took advantage of his absence by feeding the ball inside and generating open shots on the perimeter.

Florida State sure looked comfortable playing in Brooklyn, shooting 3-pointers with such ease it was like they were throwing pebbles into the ocean. The Seminoles finished the game an impressive 11-20 (55 percent) from distance, well above their season average of 38 percent.

Florida State's Michael Snaer (21) is surrounded by Brigham Young's Brandon Davies (0), Raul Delgado (1) and Brock Zylstra (13) in the first half of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic basketball game on Friday, Nov., 16, 2012, at Barclays Center in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)
Florida State's Michael Snaer (21) is surrounded by Brigham Young's Brandon Davies (0), Raul Delgado (1) and Brock Zylstra (13) in the first half of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic basketball game on Friday, Nov., 16, 2012, at Barclays Center in New York. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek)

"We work so hard to try and get in a position to stop the other team, but tonight it seemed like the harder we worked, the easier it was for them unfortunately," said BYU head coach Dave Rose.

While Seminole forward Okaro White was busy working over BYU post players Nate Austin, Ian Harward and Augustino Ambrosino, Seminole guards Devon Booker, Michael Snaer and Ian Miller took advantage of the open looks on the perimeter to combine for a 9-13 shooting night from distance.

White went to the charity stripe for seven attempts while shooting 71 percent from the floor.

While BYU knew going into the game that FSU's shooters posed a serious threat, the execution wasn't there on defense.

"Florida State has a lot of good shooters, so one thing we tried to key in on was to get up in their faces and not let them have open shots," said BYU guard Craig Cusick. "They did a good job, though, of driving to the basket and then kicking it out and by then they had open shots. They executed their game plan so well tonight."

Meanwhile, on the other end of the Barclays Center court, the Cougar offense was stagnant and off the mark. At the end of the first half, BYU was 13-34 on field goals and finished the game 25-75 for 34.7-percent shooting.

The lack of an inside scoring threat was evident throughout. BYU's offense repeatedly forced up jumpers or turned the ball over while Davies sat with two fouls during the first half. The Seminoles were able to push the Cougars away from the rim and out to the perimeter.

While BYU's offense looked consistent and crisp against Georgia State and Tennessee State in earlier games, the Cougars will have to learn how to manufacture points if Davies gets into foul trouble and needs to sit out for an extended period of time.

The final game of the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic is Saturday at 5 p.m. MST, as the Cougars look to find a big win on their trip to the Big Apple.

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Daniel Lewis

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