The Cougars used a fantastic performance from 3-point range to knock off the Santa Clara Broncos 78-57 in the Marriott Center on Saturday night. BYU was able to hit 15-of-29 shots from deep to help overcome the absence of Kyle Collinsworth and secure the win.
Tyler Haws led the way for the Cougars with 21 points on a night where he passed Danny Ainge to move into second place on the BYU all-time scoring list. Chase Fischer also had a big night coming off the bench with 18 points on 5-of-9 shooting from beyond the arc as Dave Rose made some changes to the starting lineup. Without Collinsworth, Rose went with more of a traditional lineup. Skyler Halford was inserted into a starting role to run the point while Dalton Nixon got a start in the front court to help the Cougars on the glass without their leading rebounder. Halford responded with a solid floor game in the victory. He finished with 13 points on the strength of 3-for-5 shooting from beyond the arc to go along with a game-high seven assists. Anson Winder added 13 points, four rebounds and a pair of steals.
Jared Brownridge and Brandon Clark did most of the damage on the offense for the Broncos. Brownridge led the way with 16 points, five rebounds and three assists while Clark managed 11 points on a night where he shot 4-for-16 from the floor, including 1-for-8 from 3-point land. Nate Kratch added nine points and three rebounds while Emmanuel Ndumanya chipped in with six points and six rebounds off the bench.
Why the Cougars won
BYU was able to move the ball and get good looks from the outside all night long with 17 assists on 22 made field goals. Along the way, the Cougars held Santa Clara in check from the outside as the Broncos shot 4-for-22 from beyond the arc.
Bench production was another key as BYU got 31 points and 23 rebounds from the second unit. Isaac Neilson was the catalyst on the glass with nine rebounds in 12 minutes. He was followed closely by Ryan Andrus who contributed eight rebounds, including five on the offensive end to go along with five points.
The turning point
After back-to-back baskets from Brownridge cut the lead to five early in the second half, BYU went on an 18-0 run all from 3-point range to put the game out of reach. During the run, BYU hit 6-of-8 attempts from distance, including two each from Winder and Halford.
What it means
After two consecutive wins to open up the second half of conference play, BYU should have some swagger heading into a crucial trip to California to face Pepperdine and Loyola Marymount.
The Cougars also showed that they are nearly unguardable when they get the ball moving and push the tempo because of the amount of good shooters they have. We also learned the BYU is developing more weapons on the inside to try to compete with the best of the West Coast Conference.
Grading the performance
The Cougars shot the ball poorly from the inside (7-for-25) and from the free-throw line (19-for-28), but made up for it with their touch from 3-point land. They did great work on the glass with a huge rebounding edge, thanks to the play of Neilson and Andrus. The defense also came to play as BYU held the Broncos to just 34.4 percent shooting from the floor.
All in all, it was a very solid performance from a team that was playing without one of its key pieces.
The Broncos were able to hang around for a while in a very tough environment, but couldn’t find shooters in transition as the Cougars used a huge burst to pull away. They did a good job of taking care of the ball with only eight turnovers, but couldn’t get shots to fall from anywhere.
Three telling stats
The Cougars had 17 assists on the night, making them a perfect 14-0 on the season when they record at least 15 helpers.
BYU shot better than 50 percent from the 3-point line for the fifth time this season. The Cougars are 5-0 in those games.
The BYU center rotation of Corbin Kaufusi, Luke Worthington, Andrus and Neilson only had five points (all from Andrus), but combined for 19 rebounds in 40 minutes.
BYU heads on the road to face Pepperdine on Thursday night. The Waves are 14-8 on the season and 7-4 in WCC play after a huge road victory over Saint Mary’s on Saturday night.
Stacy Davis and Jett Raines are the scoring leaders in the Pepperdine offense. Davis is averaging 16 points on 45.3 percent shooting to go along with 7.7 rebounds and two assists while Raines puts up 11.4 points on 52.1 percent shooting from the floor, including 40.9 percent from distance. He also does a nice job on the glass with 5.5 rebounds a contest.