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Third-ranked BYU is upset by New Mexico, 82-64

Cougars fall at home two days after top rebounder Brandon Davies is dismissed.

March 02, 2011|Wire reports
  • New Mexico forward Drew Gordon takes the ball from BYU forward Noah Hartsock in the first half Wednesday night.
New Mexico forward Drew Gordon takes the ball from BYU forward Noah Hartsock… (Douglas C. Pizac / US Presswire )

PROVO, Utah -- Phillip McDonald scored 26 points to lead New Mexico to an 82-64 upset of No. 3 Brigham Young on Wednesday night, two days after the Cougars dismissed leading rebounder Brandon Davies for a violation of the school's honor code.

The Salt Lake Tribune reported that Davies was dismissed for engaging in premarital sex.

The loss left the Cougars (27-3, 13-2 Mountain West Conference) reeling just as they had vaulted into the top five nationally and sought a coveted No. 1 seeding in the NCAA tournament.

That looks like a longshot now even though the Cougars still have national player-of-the-year candidate Jimmer Fredette.

Fredette had 33 points on 10-for-26 shooting, including one of nine from three-point range, in a game that saw BYU try to find the right combination on the court without Davies.

BYU started 6-foot-10 junior James Anderson in Davies' place, but Coach Dave Rose quickly went to Plan B and inserted Kyle Collinsworth.

Not much seemed to work as BYU's inside game disappeared. The Cougars made just eight of 30 shots in the first half and were outrebounded, 25-14, as the Lobos (19-11, 7-8) took a 42-26 lead.

The Cougars came in averaging 83 points a game and shooting 38% from three-point range. They finished five of 26 on three-pointers in losing to the Lobos for the second time this season.

A three-point play by Charles Abouo pulled BYU within 48-37 with 14 minutes 41 seconds left, and Fredette had a chance to cut it even further. But he missed a three-pointer and McDonald countered with a three to bump New Mexico's lead to 51-37. The Lobos' 11-0 run continued with a three-pointer from Jamal Fenton.

New Mexico, which beat the Cougars, 86-77, on Jan. 29, came ready to play from the opening tip.

The Lobos hit their first four shots and six of their first seven in taking leads of 10-2 and 27-12.

With Davies gone, more of the burden fell to guards Jackson Emery and Fredette. But they were a combined five of 17 in the first half.

New Mexico shot 50% in the first half and finished nine of 20 on threes.

The partisan BYU crowd tried to keep the faith, with signs that read "Believe" and "We Still Got Jimmer."

The Cougars have little time to regain the momentum after losing Davies, who was third on the team in scoring behind Fredette and Emery. School officials on Wednesday confirmed that Davies' offense was not criminal but a violation of the school's honor code, which requires students to be chaste and virtuous, honest, not drink alcoholic beverages or coffee and attend church regularly.

BYU closes the regular season Saturday at home against Wyoming, The Mountain West tournament is next week in Las Vegas.

They can still claim a share of the MWC regular-season title but their long-range goal was to advance deep into the NCAA tournament.

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