The Cougars had a chance to make a huge statement early in the college basketball season as the number-21 ranked Iowa State Cyclones were in town in front of a national audience. Unfortunately for the Cougars they lost more than the game.
The Cyclones were able to come away with a hard fought 90-88 victory after BYU had multiple chances to tie the game or take the lead late but couldn't get any to fall.
After the game went back and forth early, BYU was able to get a 12 point lead 36-24 midway through the first half behind an impressive run by Cougar point guard Matt Carlino.
During that stretch, He was able to knock down a few jumpers, get a back side steal for an easy layup and throw a perfect alley-oop pass to center Eric Mika who was striking down the floor.
From that point one, the Cyclones chipped away at the BYU lead and cut it down to 47-42 at halftime.
Iowa State fought all the way back to take the lead late in the second half before most of the excitement took place. With BYU trailing, Carlino went to the basket and found Mika for what looked to be an easy basket when DeAndre Kane appeared and did something that I haven't seen since the old Three Stooges' movies. While reaching towards Mika to play defense, Kane raised both his hands towards Mika and one caught him right in the eye. Since there was no play on the ball, Kane was given a flagrant two and ejected from the game. Unfortunately for Mika and the Cougar faithful, one of Kane's fingers appeared to have gone deep into Mika's eye socket which forced him to leave the game and not return.
After the ejection, BYU scored for quick points to cut the lead but Iowa State always had an answer. Shortly thereafter, The Cyclones lost another one of their impact players as leading scorer Melvin Ejim fouled out of the game. Even without their two leading scorers on the night, Iowa State was able to keep the lead thanks to the outstanding play of big man Georges Niang. Every time that BYU scored in the final minutes, Niang returned the favor.
After forcing a turnover with less than 30 seconds remaining, BYU had a chance to tie after an Anson Winder steal, but he made only one of two free throws. After Iowa State missed a one-and one, the Cougars had another shot at the lead, but Tyler Haws tried to force up a shot with three Cyclones around him and it was blocked. The Cougars had one more chance with only seconds remaining, but Kyle Collinsworth missed an 18-footer as the buzzer went off.
Iowa State was led by Kane and Ejim, who both finished with 21 points followed by Niang who finished the night with 19 points and eight assists.
Tyler Haws led BYU with 20 points but only made 6-of-19 shots and had three turnovers in his return to action after missing two games. Three other Cougars scored in double figures as well. Carlino finished the night with 19 points, seven assists, four rebounds and four steals with no turnovers. Mika had 17 points and nine rebounds before the finger to his eye forced him to miss the remaining minutes of the game. They were joined by Collinsworth who finished with 11 points on just 4-of-12 shooting from the field to go along with nine rebounds and four assists. Nate Austin once led BYU in rebounding once again with 13 boards to go along with six points and two steals.
With the loss, the Cougars fall to 4-1 on the season while Iowa State pushed their record to 4-0.
There is no word as of yet to the extent of Mika's injury but hopes are that he will be back on the floor when the Cougars face the Texas Longhorns on Monday.