Passing and Perfect Shooting Give Cougars Easy Win

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The BYU men’s basketball team got off to a hot start on both sides of the ball Saturday and never looked back, cruising to an 81-56 victory over the University of San Francisco.

Junior guard Brock Zylstra had a game-high 22 points for the Cougars on perfect 8-for-8 shooting, including six three-pointers, while the defense shut down the USF offense in the West Coast Conference game at the Marriott Center. The assault from the arc by Zylstra tied a BYU record for most consecutive threes, a mark set by Nathan Call in 1991 and tied by Jonathan Tavernari in 2007.

“Brock was really good tonight,” head coach Dave Rose said. “One thing that I get excited about as a coach is when a player plays that well and his teammates continue to find him and get him open looks.”

[easyembed field=”Photogallery”]The Cougars (13-4, 2-1 WCC) continue to show that every player on the roster has the ability to have a breakout night, as six different players have scored 20 or more points in a single game this season.

“When guys on our team get an opportunity, we all seize it,” Zylstra said. “I just try to do whatever the team needs at any given time. Tonight, I felt I was open. I felt I had the space I needed, so I shot it when it came to me.”

BYU shot 54 percent from the floor, and 63 percent from beyond the arc, leading by as many as 31 in the second half.

The shooting performance came by way of passing the ball, as the Cougars finished the game with 29 baskets on 27 assists. All 16 baskets in the first half came on an assist.

“We shared the ball really well,” Rose said. “I don’t know if we’ve ever assisted on every basket, but we’ve been close like that a couple times. We just get in a rhythm of how we want to play.”

The Cougars’ defenseĀ  held the Dons (10-6, 0-3 WCC) to 33 percent shooting for the game, and just 20 percent from three-point range, which came from a swarming zone defense that limited USF’s mobility.

“We were always trying to play catch-up against their zone,” USF head coach Rex Walters said. “That really affected us tonight.”

San Francisco was held scoreless for a period of almost eight minutes in the first half, propelling the Cougars to an early 27-8 lead. The Cougars never led by less than 17 points after that.

“Defensively, we were really good at times as far as keeping them on the perimeter and keeping them out of penetration mode,” Coach Rose said.

Junior Michael Williams led the Dons with 10 points, but was held to just 3-for-12 from the floor. Forward Noah Hartsock had 14 points for the Cougars, while junior Brandon Davies and freshman Matt Carlino contributed 12 apiece.

The Cougars are off until Saturday, when they play the University of Santa Clara Broncos at the Marriott Center. The game will start at 6 pm.

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