By Christian Carlson
TCU became the latest victim in a string of blowout victories for the Cougars, who defeated the Horned Frogs 79-63 Saturday in Fort Worth, Texas.
The win marked the Cougars” fourth straight easy victory — they defeated Wyoming, Air Force, Colorado State and now TCU each by double-digits. Lee Cummard led the way against TCU with 24 points on 6-for-10 shooting from the field. He also went 10-for-10 from the free-throw line.
“It was a real team win,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “We got great play out of a lot of players at different times during the game.”
Jonathan Tavernari added 19 points and six rebounds, with 16 of his points coming in the first half, and Jimmer Fredette contributed with 16 points, five rebounds and five assists. Fredette scored 14 of his points in the second half.
BYU (19-5, 7-3) remains one game behind Utah for first-place in the Mountain West Conference standings. The Cougars are tied in the loss column with San Diego State and UNLV for second-place in the conference.
“Every win is key,” Cummard said. “For us to be successful we just got to take it a game at a time and move forward.”
The Cougars led 14-13 with just over 14 minutes left in the first half before Tavernari scored on two consecutive baskets to begin a 15-5 run that included back-to-back 3-pointers by Cummard. The Cougars shot 27-for-45 from the field for the game and lead the nation in field-goal percentage, making almost 51 percent of their shots.
“We”ve got great players and great shooters on this team,” Cummard said. “From top to bottom, guys know what they are capable of doing and when they get their opportunity they usually shoot a pretty high percentage.”
BYU finished the last two minutes of the first half on a 7-0 run to take a 40-26 halftime lead. Tavernari scored the first five points of the run, including a crucial steal the led to an easy layup.
TCU (13-12, 4-7) came within 10 points at 43-33 with 18 minutes left in the game, but never came closer as the Cougars answered with an 11-3 run. BYU led by double-digits the rest of the game and led by as many as 20 points.
“Playing with a lead and managing a lead, especially on the road, is something you have to learn to do together and these players did a good job of that tonight,” Rose said.
TCU has now lost six straight games, four of them by double-digits. Kevin Langford led the Horned Frogs with 19 points. Zvonko Buljan scored 13 points and grabbed 10 rebounds and Edvinas Ruzgas added 14 points.
The Cougars will host New Mexico tonight at the Marriott Center. The game is at 8 p.m. and will be broadcast on The Mtn.