BYU tries to regroup without Brandon Davies

PROVO, Utah - Brigham Young University mens' basketball players said they will continue to support former teammate Brandon Davies "like a brother" despite transgressions that got the starting forwarded kicked off the nation's third-ranked team.

Davies was dismissed from the team late Tuesday for having premarital sex, according to reports in the Salt Lake Tribune.

University officials said only that Davies' actions were not criminal but violated the school's code of honor. Spokeswoman Carri Jenkins said an honor code review is under way to determine if the BYU sophomore will be allowed to remain in school, as well as his status with the team next season.

BYU's honor code requires students to live a chaste and virtuous life, be honest, abstain from alcoholic beverages, tobacco, tea, coffee and substance abuse, and attend church regularly.

The school announced the dismissal on Tuesday night after being made aware of the violation Monday — the same day that BYU vaulted four spots in the AP poll.

"He told us he was sorry and let us down," BYU guard Jimmer Fredette said after the game in which he scored 33 points but was only 1 of 9 from 3-point range. "We told him it's OK. Sometimes in life we make mistakes. We've got to play through it."

No one discussed details of what occurred with Davies but BYU coach Dave Rose discussed the school's controversial honor code.

"Everybody who comes to BYU, every student if they're an athlete or not an athlete, they make a commitment when they come," Rose said of a code that also forbids use of alcohol and coffee and requires students to be honest and attend church regularly. "A lot of people try to judge if this is right or wrong, but it's a commitment they make. It's not about right or wrong. It's about commitment."

(The BYU honor code can be read here.)

There was no denying the Cougars were a different team in Wednesday night's 82-64 loss to New Mexico. It was their first game without Davies.

Signs in the arena insisted "We Believe" while others reminded opponents that "We Still Have Jimmer."

But player of the year candidate Jimmer Fredette can only do so much.

If anything, Wednesday night's lopsided loss to New Mexico showed that, and further exposed something BYU critics have been saying all year — that the Cougars don't have enough power up front to be considered among the very best teams in the country.

Before Davies dismissal, the Cougars ranked seventh in the Mountain West Conference in rebounds allowed. On Wednesday without Davies, they were outrebounded 45-29, including 33-22 on the defensive boards.

"We wanted to go inside," Lobos coach Steve Alford admitted after Wednesday's 82-64 victory, the second straight over the Cougars this season. "(Davies) has been very, very big for them all year. He's very skilled and he's very talented ... that's a tremendous loss, so we just wanted to make sure that we went inside as much as possible."

The Lobos won't be the only one.

BYU might get by in the early rounds of next week's Mountain West Conference tournament, where the Cougars still can earn a No. 1 seed with a win Saturday over Wyoming.

But if they have to face San Diego State again? Or in the NCAAs, where depth often is key?

"It's still a week or two away, all the postseason stuff," small forward Charles Abouo said.

Still, coach Dave Rose admitted the team has to regroup following the shocking turnaround since the win over San Diego State and rise to No. 3 in the land.

The body language on display Wednesday night indicated it may take some time.

Senior guard Jackson Emery could be seen kicking a chair, and Fredette spent the final few minutes at the end of the bench with his chin buried in his chest.

"It's been difficult," said Fredette, one of the team captains that Rose broke the news to first on Monday when school officials were made aware of Davies' situation. "(Davies was like a brother to us, family. It's tough to lose a guy like that and pull together. I think we'll be all right."

Before the shocker lit up talk show lines, twitter accounts and fueled a national debate about BYU's code of honor, BYU was drawing comparisons to NCAA tournament darling Davidson, which made an NCAA tournament run three years ago by working its offense around star point guard Stephen Curry.

But how far can a team go with no power in the paint?

"It was definitely noticeable," Lobos forward Drew Gooden said of BYU's lack of muscle inside. Gooden had a game-high 16 boards, 13 on the defensive end.

"It definitely hurt them that Davies wasn't there, but you have to work with what you're given."

BYU started 6-10 junior James Anderson in Davies' place but Rose quickly went to Plan B, then Plan C and so on.

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

"We found a lineup that we were really comfortable playing, a lineup we started the (previous) 20 games," Rose said. "Now we need to find the next comfortable lineup."

Falling behind so quickly then tossing up so many perimeter shots didn't help, even with Fredette shooting.

He often tried to do too much, forcing shots before exiting the game having made 10 of 26 overall and 1 of 9 from 3-point range.

"We were trying to score five, six, seven points in one possession," Rose said. "We never got into a rhythm."

Abouo insisted there was no resentment toward Davies, who apologized to his teammates.

"I don't know why we would have resentment toward him," Abouo said. "We love him... everyone makes mistakes. He didn't let anyone down."

Rose also said Davies did the right thing by acknowledging his transgressions to university officials.

But the coach stood by the school's honor code.

"Everybody who comes to BYU, every student if they're an athlete or not an athlete, they make a commitment when they come," Rose said of a code that also forbids use of alcohol and coffee and requires students to be honest and attend church regularly. "A lot of people try to judge if this is right or wrong, but it's a commitment they make. It's not about right or wrong. It's about commitment."

As of Thursday morning, there was still no word whether BYU staffers would edit changes to a pre-game video tribute that still shows Davies patrolling the paint.

At least that would be a simple fix.

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