BYU’s WCC Era Closes With Loss To Saint Mary’s In Semifinal
The final season for BYU basketball in the WCC ended like so many others. An exit in the WCC Tournament Semifinals to one of the league’s top teams.
— BYU Men's Basketball (@BYUMBB) March 7, 2023
On Monday night, it was top-seed Saint Mary’s dishing BYU a loss, 76-69. A setback that served as BYU’s final WCC game as a member of the league before they moved on to the Big 12 next season.
For the first 25 minutes of action, it appeared that Saint Mary’s was going to hand BYU an embarrassing blowout loss to close out their time in the WCC. The nationally-ranked Gaels were up by 26 points and BYU looked lifeless.
But as BYU has done so many times this season, they fought back. BYU incorporate a fullcourt press that clearly caught Saint Mary’s off guard. The Gaels never attacked BYU’s full-court pressure with easy buckets, opting to stay in their slow-down tempo.
BYU trimmed the deficit down to three points. Like so many games this season for BYU, they got so close yet felt so far away.
To get to the WCC semifinals, BYU shot the three well. That didn’t happen on Monday, as BYU only knocked down 29% of its three-point attempts. Saint Mary’s hit 47% of its three-point attempts.
Saint Mary’s guard Alex Ducas led the way in scoring for the Gaels with 23 points. Freshman guard Aidan Mahaney, who emerged as a BYU killer this season, scored 18 points.
#BYU's time in the WCC is over.
Saint Mary's 76, #BYU 69#BYUHoops #WCCHoops
— Mitch Harper (@Mitch_Harper) March 7, 2023
For BYU, Spencer Johnson scored a team-high 13 points. Freshman Richie Saunders continued his impressive play in Las Vegas with an 11-point effort, and he once again showed his relentless effort on the defensive end.
BYU basketball closes out the 2022-23 season with a 19-14 record. It’s only the second sub-20-win season for BYU since 2005. They will wait until Sunday to find out if they receive an at-large bid to the NIT. If they don’t, the season could be over.
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Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow Mitch’s coverage of BYU moving to the Big 12 Conference on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.
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