The BYU Cougars play in a conference widely regarded as inferior to the Pac-12. They averaged 79 points during the regular season. Tuesday night they scored 90 in giving the Washington Huskies an 11 point beating in the first round of the N.I.T. in Provo. The Huskies' season ends at a disappointing 18-16.
The Huskies gave it a game effort, especially at the offensive end. Pleasant Grove Utah's native son C.J. Wilcox led the Huskies with 20 points. Shawn Kemp Jr. was strong in the middle with 15, and Andrew Andrews came off the bench with 12 points.
Washington offered little resistance when BYU had the ball. Cougar senior guard Tyler Haws strafed Washington's defense on his way to a game high 37 points. Matt Carlino added 20, with 18 of them coming in the second half. The Huskies, last in the Pac-12 in defense during the season, were bitten by the same deficiency Tuesday night.
What will become of the Huskies next year will be a topic from now until next October when they lace them up again. On Lorenzo Romar's mind, though, will be defense. Ball pressure, positioning, and team defense all need to be addressed. Romar has a solid nucleus returning, especially if Wilcox foregoes the NBA draft. Much will be expected by a fan base unused to being excluded from the Big Dance in consecutive years.