With a goal of remaining undefeated at home this season, the men’s basketball team was at a loss when the Brigham Young University Cougars claimed a two point win, 71-69, Jan.15 at War Memorial Gymnasium at the Sobrato Center. Though unable to protect home court, they traveled to the Marriott Center in Provo, Utah Feb. 3 to redeem the defeat with a score of 73-59.
The Cougars took control in the first five minutes, running up a 12-4 lead. A three by graduate student Jamaree Bouyea eventually helped get the Dons in the groove, tying the score 16-16 and setting up a lead for the remainder of the half.
Bouyea closed the half with a three and the Dons were up 40-25. Although both teams shot similarly in the first half, the Dons had 40.54% of field goals and 38.10% of three pointers while the Cougars had 36.00% and 28.57%. The Dons ran with more shot opportunities, especially redshirt senior Khalil Shabazz, who went three for five outside the arc.
The Cougars cut their deficit down to 10 points in the middle of the second half, and the Dons found a drought going zero for nine in threes. Their free throw shooting picked them up though, as they went 13-18 in the second half.
Every player contributed evenly in the game with five Dons in the double digits: graduate student Yahuen Massalski with 13 rebounds and 16 points, graduate student Gabe Stefanini with 15 points, Shabazz with 15 points, Bouyea with 13 points, and graduate student Patrick Tape with 10 points.
Their competition at the Chiles Center against the University of Portland on Feb. 5 was much tighter. The Portland Pilots kept the score relatively even with the Dons in the first half, but playing in the paint would give them the five point advantage to close the half at 41-36.
Both teams shot around 50.00% in both halves, but the Dons had a hard time staying in tune with their threes, going four for 12 in the first half and three for 11 in the second.
The teams stayed close until the final minute, when junior Josh Kunen found an offensive rebound and layup off of Stefanini to bring the team up 72-70. With an exchange of free throws, Stefanini put up two more to close the score at 74-71, bringing the Dons to a three game winning streak.
The Dons will stay at War Memorial Gymnasium at the Sobrato Center for their match against the Pepperdine University Waves Feb. 10 and work their way to the Leavey Center to face off against the Santa Clara Broncos Feb. 12.