The BYU men’s basketball team won in dominating fashion over Northern Arizona on Wednesday night, 87-52, at the Lumberjack Classic in Prescott Valley, Ariz.
The Cougars forced 22 Northern Arizona turnovers, leading to multiple fast break points and easy buckets. According to head coach Dave Rose, those turnovers converted to easy baskets were key in giving the Cougars confidence after a tough loss during Thanksgiving weekend.
“I was really pleased not only with the energy we started the game with but our effort defensively,” Rose said on his post-game KSL radio show. “… The credit goes to the guys. They understand how important it is to bounce back and and to not let one loss cause another loss and to put yourself in a hole and then try to dig out of it.”The game started with Northern Arizona hitting its first two shots and taking a 4-0 lead. Over the next eight minutes however, the Lumberjacks committed nine turnovers and BYU went on a 15-0 run that included a couple of 3-pointers by junior guard Brock Zylstra.
The Cougars continued to pull away as Zylstra connected on another 3-pointer and made some easy fast break layups. By the end of the half, Zylstra already had a career-high with 15 points. Playing well defensively for the Cougars in the first half was Noah Hartsock, blocking four shots and pulling down four rebounds. The Cougars entered the locker room with a 44-21 lead, as reserve guard Craig Cusick made an easy basket off of a steal as the clock wound down.
BYU continued its run in the second half as Charles Abouo made a long jumper, Hartsock hit a basket underneath and point guard Anson Winder made a transition basket in the Cougars’ first three possessions to make the score 50-21.
Northern Arizona narrowed the BYU margin during the next 10 minutes until Brandon Davies brought the neutral court crowd to its feet with a driving dunk. The Cougars then went on to stretch their lead to 37 with about two minutes remaining and the score at 87-50, as Zylstra continued to hit 3-pointers in the second half.
The game ended with Northern Arizona scoring just one more basket and BYU walked away with an 87-52 victory.
Zylstra led BYU in scoring on the night, ending with a new career high of 23. Zylstra is the fifth different leading scorer the Cougars have had in just seven games. Also ending with career highs on the night were reserve post Nate Austin, scoring 11 points off the bench, and Winder, dishing out nine assists.
The Cougars once again saw scoring balance, as Davies and Hartsock also scored in double figures, with 14 and 11, respectively.
Colin Gruber led Northern Arizona with 13 points on 4-of-6 shooting.
The Cougars return to the court on Saturday afternoon, as they play their fourth consecutive game on a neutral court to take on the Oregon Ducks in Salt Lake City at EnergySolutions Arena.
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