BYU pulls away to beat Hounds
PROVO, Utah — When a Division II basketball team ventures into a 20,000-plus arena to take on the likes of Brigham Young, it's usually not a matter of if but when the home team will open up a comfortable margin.
JIM MCAULEY: (Provo) Daily Herald
Eastern New Mexico's Phil Henry dunks during the first haf of Tuesday game against at the BYU Marriott Center in Provo, Utah.
For the Cougars, in a 95-62 victory over Eastern New Mexico University on Tuesday, that came at the end of the first half.
BYU (7-3) eventually built on a 15-point intermission advantage and rolled to an easy victory over the Greyhounds.
But junior ENMU guard Jordan Romero at least stayed the execution temporarily by going on a personal nine-point run just under the midway point of the first half. Romero, who finished with 12 points, got most of those when he canned a pair of 3-pointers and then a jumper to make the score 27-22.
Brigham Young scored the next five points, but Eastern New Mexico (5-6) wasn't done just yet. When junior Phil Henry slammed home a dunk with 2:47 remaining in the first half, the margin was seven points.
That's when the Cougars scored the last eight before the halftime break.
"I didn't think we played as well as we could have," ENMU coach Andrew Helton said. "They're a better team than us, obviously a different level. They pose a lot of matchup issues with us because of their size.
"I thought what really hurt us was the way we finished the first half. If we get in at seven or eight, then you have a chance to manage the game."
Tyler Haws scored 19 points to lead all players while Brandon Davies added 17 for BYU. Those two players were the primary catalysts for the home team pulling away at the Marriott Center, but the Cougars also got double-digit scoring from Agustin Ambrosino (14 points) and Cory Calvert (10).
"We kind of knew it would not be a really, really good team, but they played hard," said Ambrosino of the visiting Hounds.
Rodney Blackmon led Eastern with 14 points, while Lawrence Domingo added 10.
The road trip for the Greyhounds, first to California to play Cal Poly and then to Utah, was a rare occasion where the men's basketball team traveled by plane rather than by bus.
And it was a trip Blackmon said he wouldn't soon forget.
"We flew here, but it was a crazy ride here," he said of the turbulence experienced in the air. "Man, we thought we were going to die, seriously. People were crying on the plane, some of our teammates threw up. It was crazy."
Blackmon added that he enjoyed the atmosphere of the large arena, if not the game itself.
"It was the funnest game I've had since I've been playing basketball, but (we had) too many letdowns on defense, not enough ball movement on offense," he said. "They're good, but that didn't have anything to do with our offense. Just didn't get enough movement — we were stiffs."