In my preview, I tried to hedge my bets and say that BYU would probably win comfortably, by maybe ten points. I should have just gone with my gut and said they were going to dominate Southern Miss, because that's exactly what they did.
Sure, the Golden Eagles hung tough for most of the first half, despite the fact that their focus on shutting down Brandon Davies (very successful) meant under-rotating in their zone and repeatedly leaving Brock Zylstra wide open in the corner to the tune of five three-pointers and 18 first-half points.
Unfortunately, that's the best thing we can say. You blinked, and suddenly BYU closed out the first half on an 8-0 run. You blinked again, and they opened the second half on an 8-2 run, and before you knew it a 32-29 contest was a 48-31 domination.
By the end of the night, the stat sheet read like a scrimmage: Tyler Haws with 25 points, Zylstra with 23 and 10 boards, Carlino with 15 points. Even Davies, who wound up being the one (out of he and Jonathan Mills) in foul trouble, still managed to finish with 12 points and 13 rebounds. The Eagles, as I expected, only barely got out-rebounded, but they couldn't get shots to drop to save their lives (33%), and to compound matters they made a mess of the free throw line (59%).
The Cougars will now head to Madison Square Garden for a rematch against Baylor. The Bears hosted BYU just before Christmas this season and did to the Cougars what the Cougars did to the Eagles tonight. Perhaps things change now that BYU is on an offensive roll, but either way it will certainly be entertaining.