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BYU's Nixon returns to the court for the 1st time in 11 games

PROVO — After being sidelined for 11 games, BYU sophomore forward Dalton Nixon returned to floor after dealing with a foot injury.

Nixon played only seven minutes in the first half and the final eight seconds in the second half Saturday night. But his return meant a lot to the Cougars in their 74-58 victory over San Diego at the Marriott Center.

“It’s awesome. He does so many good things that maybe don’t show up on a stat sheet,” BYU guard TJ Haws said. “He gives 100 percent effort at all times and brings a good spark to us and a lot of energy.”

Nixon collected two rebounds, one foul, one point and one steal on the night.

“It was great to see him in there,” said coach Dave Rose, who was told by trainers to play him only 8-10 minutes.

“Hopefully he’ll have a good week of practice and be ready to move on,” Rose said of Nixon. “He can really help us.”

Before his injury, Nixon was averaging 6.7 points and 3.7 rebounds per game. He hadn’t played since a Dec. 6 win against Illinois State.

“He’s got a real physical presence to him with a lot of skill,” Rose said. “He has good size, he really understands our defensive system and he’s a good screener on offense and you have to guard him on the perimeter because he’s got a nice shot.”

STREAK CONTINUES: Guard Elijah Bryant was only 4 of 14 from the field and 1 of 7 from 3-point range Saturday night.

But Bryant has strung together 21 consecutive games with at least one 3-pointer, tying him with Nick Emery and Terrell Lyday for the fifth-longest single-season streak in BYU history.

KEY STATS: Rose noted a few stats that helped the Cougars beat the Toreros.

BYU hit 17 of 25 free throws compared to USD’s 9 of 14 from the charity stripe.

“Our ability to get to the free throw line was huge,” he said.

In addition, the Cougars recorded 12 steals and scored 21 points off turnovers. BYU had only six turnovers against the Toreros.

“Twelve steals and six turnovers is a pretty good combination, too,” Rose said.