Cougars run Santa Clara out of the Marriott Center


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PROVO — BYU defeated Santa Clara 96-79 Saturday night in Provo. Matt Carlino and Tyler Haws combined to score 52 points as the Cougars improved to 18-6 on the season and 8-2 in conference.

"I thought it was a great game," BYU head coach Dave Rose said. "We were playing hard, and both teams played well offensively."

The Cougars were able to turn what was a close game at halftime into a comfortable victory largely because of their defense, which created 17 points off turnovers. BYU scored a season-high 50 points in the paint.

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Whatever the Cougars wanted to do on offense against the Broncos, they were able to do. Whether it was feeding Brandon Davies in the post, Haws coming off screens, or Carlino penetrating the lane in transition, the Cougars found ways to get the ball into the hoop at a near season-high rate. The Cougars finished the game with a 58.3 percent mark from the floor and 45.5 percent mark from the perimeter.

All told, BYU's scoring output — 96 points — was its second-highest of the season. BYU scored 97 points in December against Virginia Tech.

How did the team go from scoring 20 points in one half on the road against Pepperdine — just two days ago — to 49 in one half?

"It came down to getting defensive stops, which allowed us to get out and run," said Carlino, who finished with a game-high 28 points on 17 shots and had six assists.

Carlino was instrumental on both ends of the floor, helping keep Santa Clara point guard Evan Roquemore in check, then pushing the ball down the floor to break down the defense before the Broncos could get set.

"I think it's a comfort level for our guys," said Rose when asked about the pace of the game. "When we play that way, our confidence spreads throughout the entire team. I thought a lot of that was led by Matt tonight."

Carlino didn't wait long to get started. After a defensive rebound by Brandon Davies, Carlino heaved the ball down the court directly into the hands of Haws streaking toward the basket for a layup. Time elapsed from rebound to basket? About four seconds.

The Broncos didn't help themselves out either. After a drive to the basket, Carlino was hit just above his right eye, a blow that split open his eyebrow with a cut that would later require stitches. Carlino came off the court briefly to have a bandage applied, and then came back in the game with an edge.

His first possession back on the court ended with a 3-pointer from the top of the arc. One minute later, he hit a second 3 from the top of the arc again. Thirty seconds later, Santa Clara guard Kevin Foster stole the ball from Carlino, who patiently tracked down Foster and blocked his shot attempt.

Carlino played like a man possessed the remainder of the game, coming out of the locker room after halftime to help his teammates drive up the lead.

"We are always looking to get Brandon and Tyler going. They are our scorers," Carlino said. "They do a good job getting themselves looks, and I try to help them out sometimes too."

Haws and Davies were able to continue their pace in the second half, each doubling their halftime total to finish with 24 and 16 points, respectively. BYU was able to string together a 14-1 run followed by an 8-0 run that increased the lead to 23 points.

"We really need to keep up this tempo on the road," Davies said. "The way we finished the second half, our tempo was unbelievable. When we play at that pace it puts teams on their heels and they are trying to slow things down. If we can get consistent at that and keep doing that, we'll have no problem on the road."

Davies is correct about the tempo. With the win, the Cougars improved to 15-0 when scoring 80 points or more.

The Cougars have seven games remaining until the West Coast Conference tournament in Las Vegas. Four games are at home. Three are on the road.

BYU's next game is away from home against the Toreros of San Diego. The game takes place Thursday, Feb. 7 and will begin at 8 pm MST.

Dan Lewis covers BYU sports for KSL.com. He is currently attending Brigham Young University, studying communications with an emphasis in multimedia journalism.

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