BYU basketball: Reliving the best scoring performances by a Cougar in the NCAA Tournament

Published: May 26, 2018

BYU basketball players have had a long history of big scoring performances, but none are more important than those that took place on the biggest stage of college basketball, the NCAA Tournament.

While the Cougars haven’t always made deep runs in the Big Dance, their best players have stepped up and produced at a very high level, win or lose. This list ranks the best of those scoring outputs – the most memorable scoring nights by Cougars in the NCAA Tournament.

Statistical information from Sports-reference.com.

20. Steve Kelly, 1971

Kelly had a fantastic game as the Cougars fell to the eventual National Champion UCLA Bruins, 91-73. In the loss, he managed a game-best 24 points on 9-for-16 shooting from the floor and a perfect 6-for-6 from the foul line.

19. Doug Richards, 1972

Richards had a nearly perfect shooting day as the Cougars fell in overtime to Long Beach State in the first round of the West Regional, 95-90. In the tough loss, he finished 24 points on 9-for-10 shooting from the field and 6-for-6 from the foul line.

18. Mekeli Wesley, 2001

Wesley was most of the BYU offense on a day where the Cougars fell to the Cincinnati Bearcats, 84-59. In the loss, he finished with a game-high 25 points on the strength of an 8-for-15 shooting performance from the floor and 8 of 9 from the foul line in 34 minutes of work.

17. Jeff Chatman, 1987

Chatman had a terrific shooting game as the Cougars dropped an 83-79 decision to New Orleans. He finished with a game-high tying 25 points on 11-for-17 shooting from the field and 3-for-4 from the charity stripe.

16. Bernie Fryer, 1971

While Kresimir Cosic led the Cougar offense in a 91-82 win over Utah State, Fryer also delivered a terrific performance. He connected on 75 percent of his shots from the floor and went 13-for-15 from the foul line to finish with 25 points as BYU knocked off one of its instate rivals to advance to play the No. 1 UCLA.

15. Gary Trost, 1993

Trost had a monster day as the Cougars advanced to the second round of the Midwest Regional with an 80-71 win over SMU. In the victory, he finished with a game-high 26 points on 8-for-14 shooting from the floor, including a make on his only 3-point attempt. He also connected on 7 of 10 free throws while playing all 40 minutes.

14. Michael Loyd, 2010

Loyd has his breakout game in a BYU uniform as the Cougars outlasted the Florida Gators, 99-92, in double overtime. In the win, he totaled 26 points on 70 percent shooting from the field, including 3-for-5 from 3-point range and 9-for-10 from the foul line in 35 minutes off the bench.

13. Kresimir Cosic, 1972

Cosic finished as the game’s leading scorer as the Cougars dropped a 95-90 decision to Long Beach State. In the first-round loss, he managed 27 points on 45 percent shooting from the floor while connecting on all nine of his free throws.

12. Alan Taylor, 1980

Taylor capped off his senior season with huge double-double as the Cougars lost to the Clemson Tigers, 71-66, in the second round of the West Regional. In the loss, he totaled a game-high 27 points on 10-for-12 shooting from the floor and 7-for-11 shooting at the charity stripe.

11. Harry Anderson, 1957

Anderson had a massive offensive output as the Cougars beat Idaho State in the West Regional Third Place game, 65-54. In the win, he registered a game-high 27 points on 9-for-16 shooting from the field and 9-for-13 from the charity stripe.

10. Devin Durrant, 1984

Durrant was easily the game’s leading scorer, but it wasn’t enough to slow down Kenny Walker, Sam Bowie and the loaded Kentucky Wildcats who beat the Cougars, 93-68. In the loss, Durrant registered 28 points on 11-for-19 shooting from the florr and 6-for-8 from the foul line in 38 minutes.

9. Michael Smith, 1988

Smith led five Cougars in double figures as BYU outlasted Charlotte, 98-92, in the first round of the Southeast Regional. In the win, he recorded a game-best 29 points on 10-for-15 shooting from the floor, including 1-for-2 from beyond the arc. He also connected on all six of his free-throw attempts in 42 minutes on the floor.

8. Joe Nelson, 1950

Nelson recorded the first 30-point performance by a Cougar in the Big Dance as BYU hammered UCLA, 83-62, to take home third place in the West Regional. In the impressive win, he totaled 30 points of 12-for-25 shooting from the field and 6-for-7 from the free-throw line.

7. Kresimir Cosic, 1971

Cosic had his best NCAA Tournament performance as the Cougars beat the Utah State Aggies, 91-82. In the first-round win, he totaled a game-best 30 points on 10-for-19 shooting from the floor and 10-for-12 from the foul line.

6. Jimmer Fredette, 2011

Fredette carried the offense as the Cougars outlasted the Wofford Terriers, 74-66, in the first round of the Southeast Regional. The BYU legend totaled 32 points on the strength of 50 percent shooting from inside the arc and 10-for-12 from the foul line while playing all 40 minutes.

5. Jimmer Fredette, 2011

A week after dropping 32 points on the Terriers, Fredette had another 30-point showing as the Cougars fell to the Florida Gators in overtime, 83-74. The Cougars’ second all-time leading scorer registered 32 points in the defeat on 11-for-29 shooting from the field and a perfect 7-for-7 from the foul line in 44 minutes.

4. Tyler Haws, 2015

Haws came to play in his last trip NCAA Tournament, putting up his seventh best scoring performance as a Cougar in a 94-90 loss to Mississippi in the first round of the West Regional. In the setback, he totaled 33 points on 13-for-23 shooting from the field, including 5-for-9 from 3-point land in 38 minutes of action.

3. Jimmer Fredette, 2011

Fredette shot lights out from beyond the arc as the Cougars dismantled the Gonzaga Bulldogs, 89-67, to advance to the Sweet 16. He finished with a game-high 34 points on 7-for-12 shooting from deep and 5-for-5 from the foul line in 39 minutes of work.

2. Jimmer Fredette, 2010

Fredette had his most impressive scoring performance in the big dance as a junior when the Cougars ended a 17-year drought with a 99-92 double overtime win over the Florida Gators. In the first round win, he totaled 37 points on 50 percent shooting from the field and 8-for-10 from the charity strip while playing 46 of a possible 50 minutes.

1. Danny Ainge, 1981

Ainge delivered a masterful outing as the Cougars crushed the UCLA Bruins, 78-55, to move on to the Sweet 16. In the win, he registered 37 points on 14-for-22 shooting from the floor and 9-for-10 from the foul line in 39 minutes of action.

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