Kyle Collinsworth had a record-setting performance as the BYU Cougars bounced back from their Thursday night loss to Pepperdine with an 87-68 win over Loyola Marymount on Saturday afternoon.
Collinsworth set a new NCAA single-season record with his fifth triple-double as the Cougars improved to 18-8 on the season, including 8-5 in West Coast Conference play. He finished the game with 23 points on 50 percent shooting from the floor and 9-for-11 shooting from the free-throw line to go along with 12 rebounds, 10 assists and three steals. He had plenty of help from his backcourt mates as Tyler Haws and Skyler Halford played big in the win. Haws registered 22 points, six rebounds and three assists while Halford chipped in with 18 points on 5-for-8 shooting from the floor, including 3-for-6 from distance.
Marin Mornar and Evan Payne did most of the damage on the offensive end for the Lions. Mornar totaled 17 points on 7-for-13 shooting from the floor while Payne added 15 points, four assists and two steals. David Humphries also played well with 10 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
Why the Cougars won
The Cougars had one of their better performances of the season sharing the basketball. They recorded 20 assists on 27 made field goals.
Another big reason for the BYU victory was the work on the backboards. The Cougars outrebounded the Lions 39-24, including 16-7 on the offensive glass. Little-used Josh Sharp played a huge role in that effort with seven rebounds, including four on the offensive end in 28 minutes on the floor.
The turning point
With a 27-25 lead late in the first half, the Cougars went on a 9-0 spurt for the first double-digit advantage of the game. Chase Fischer was a key to the run with a pair of jumpers. The Lions never got within less than six points the rest of the way.
What it means
Even in a game where the Cougars don't shoot the ball particularly well (27-for-59 from the floor, including 6-for-20 from 3-point land), they can still get wins if they share the ball and hit the glass.
It also points the Cougars back in the right direction as they head for three crucial home games in the next two weeks, including a huge matchup with the Saint Mary's Gaels.
Grading the performance
Dave Rose shortened up his rotation with only six players playing more than nine minutes, and it worked well as all six made contributions.
Corbin Kaufusi was a difference maker on the defensive end with six rebounds and three blocks while Sharp did some nice things on both ends of the floor. Along with his seven rebounds, he managed two points, three assists and two steals. The Cougars also got solid production out of Isaac Neilson who had four points and three rebounds off the bench.
The Cougars did an excellent job getting to the free-throw line and converting once they got there. They hit 27-of-31 attempts from the charity stripe.
The Lions did a nice job on the defensive end, holding the Cougars to just 30 percent shooting from beyond the arc, but they couldn't keep the Cougars off of the offensive boards, and that really caused problems.
Another place where they struggled was in the foul department where they committed 23, leading to 31 free-throws for the Cougars.
Three telling stats
The Cougars outrebounded the Lions 39-24 on the night. That was their largest rebounding advantage in a game since the road win over Santa Clara on New Year's Day and the second biggest margin for BYU in conference play.
The Cougars recorded at least 20 assists in a game for the ninth time this season. BYU is undefeated in those games.
Skyler Halford matched his season-high in scoring with 18 points to offset the production of Anson Winder and Fischer. Winder only had two points in very limited action while Fischer had seven points on 3-for-9 shooting in his return to the floor after missing the Pepperdine game.
The Cougars return to the Marriott Center for a massive contest with Saint Mary's on Thursday night. The Gaels are 17-5 on the season, including 9-2 in conference play entering Saturday's action.
Saint Mary's is led by the inside-outside combination of Brad Waldow and Kerry Carter. Waldow is a dominant force with his back to the basket and on the glass. He leads the team with 20.1 points on 56.5 percent shooting from the floor with 9.5 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
Carter is second on the team with 12.3 points a night to go along with 5.4 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.6 steals. He does most of his scoring from beyond the arc. He leads the team with 54 makes from 3-point land on 130 attempts (41.5 percent).
Two other players to watch out for are Aaron Bright and Emmett Naar. Bright is averaging 10.6 points, two rebounds and 3.8 assists while Naar chips in with 6.8 points and 4.8 assists.