ST. THOMAS, U.S. Virgin Islands - The opening game of the Paradise Jam was anything but heavenly for the University of Toledo men's basketball team.
Playing Brigham Young at the University of the Virgin Islands Sport and Fitness Center, the Rockets sputtered to a 71-56 defeat last night.
``I think they penetrated well and our perimeter defense didn't do a very good job,'' said Toledo head coach Stan Joplin, whose team is now 0-1.
``They just broke us down too many times.''
That, coupled with some poor second-half shooting from the Rockets, contributed to the loss.
Trailing 36-29 at halftime, Toledo connected on only 7 of 27 shots in the second half, and 34.6 percent (18 of 52) of their shots for the game.
BYU shot 42.9 percent (21 of 49).
``We had some open jump shots and they just wouldn't fall,'' Joplin said.
``Having Nick Moore in foul trouble didn't help us either. We showed flashes, but we need to just be more consisted.''
Moore got into second-half foul trouble and played only 11 minutes of a possible 20. After scoring 10 points in the first half, he was held without a point the rest of the way.
Other double-digit scorers for the Rockets included freshman guard Sammy Villegas (13 points) - a native of Puerto Rico who got a big ovation from the fans - and Keith Triplett, who also scored 13.
During one three-minute stretch in the second half, UT went scoreless. The streak was finally broken by forward Anton Currie, whose layup attempt glanced off the underside of the rim, bounced high and fell through.
BYU was led by standout 6-6 guard Travis Hansen, who scored 22 points.
Mark Bigelow, Ricky Bower and Dan Howard also reached double figures for the Cougars, whose inside muscle was an advantage.
``In all honesty, BYU is a pretty good basketball team,'' Joplin said.
The Rockets will play next against Kansas State at 5:15 p.m. tomorrow. They'll conclude the tournament Monday against either Michigan, St. Bonaventure or Virginia Tech.
``I think they outhustled us a little bit; they were a little more scrappy,'' Moore said.
``They got after the loose balls. We had some open shots and we could have made the game a little closer.''
At the line, BYU made 21 of 27 to Toledo's 15 of 23. Kirsh and Triplett each had five rebounds to lead UT, but BYU held a 35-29 edge.