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BYU basketball: Cougars struggled to get boards vs. K-State

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OKLAHOMA CITY — The one thing BYU figured it had to do Saturday night in order to slip past No. 7 Kansas State was rebound the basketball.

One big reason the Wildcats are moving on with an 84-72 win is because they didn't let the Cougars accomplish that goal.

By halftime, when the Cougars fell behind by 10, the Wildcats already had a 10-3 advantage in offensive rebounds and 10 of their 41 first-half points were from second-chance baskets.

"It was kind of like a two-headed monster," BYU senior Jonathan Tavernari said. "We wanted to help out inside and then they'd kick it out. We needed to do a better job of finding some balance. But as an overall picture, I don't think we were very successful at it."

Even though the Cougars started to gain ground in the rebounding war late in the game, Kansas State still finished with a 39-29 rebounding advantage, and the Wildcats outrebounded BYU 15-9 on the offensive glass.

"We were in there and everyone was pushing and shoving, we got cuts and bruises, but that's part of the game — especially when you get this deep into the tournament," BYU sophomore forward Noah Hartsock said. "If you want to win you're going to do everything you can and that's what we tried to do."

The Wildcats' ability to grab several key rebounds on critical possessions was the main reason they erased a 10-point deficit, and the main reason BYU wasn't able to recover from its 10-point deficit.

The rebounding numbers for BYU weren't all bad. In fact, Hartsock tied Kansas State's Wally Judge with a game-high eight boards.

"Noah Hartsock played as hard as I've seen him play all year," coach Dave Rose said. "He had eight rebounds and he was battling big, strong, physical guys."

A BIG NIGHT FROM THE LINE: Cougar freshman Tyler Haws, in scoring 14 points, went 6-of-6 from the free throw line to extend his BYU-record consecutive free throws to 48 straight. He won't shoot another free throw, however, until he returns from an LDS Church mission before the 2012-13 season.

The Cougars, who lead the nation in free-throw shooting, were 25-of-28. They were outdone, however, by Kansas State, which hit 27-of-30.

THE BIGGEST THIEF: With one steal on Saturday, BYU junior guard Jackson Emery finishes the season with 91, tying him with former UNLV guard Marcus Banks for the Mountain West Conference season record.

LEAVING A TRUE WINNER: Senior Jonathan Tavernari ends his career with the most wins in BYU history (103) and the most 3-point baskets, 265.

FINAL NUMBERS: The Cougars finish the year 30-6, the first time ever that a BYU team has won 30 games. Its all-time record in NCAA games is now 12-28.

e-mail: jimr@desnews.com