The BYU men’s basketball team used a versatile, high-percentage shooting night to beat Santa Clara 82-67 on Saturday to send the Cougars to their fifth straight win.
BYU looked to several different players throughout the night to score the ball in different situations, shooting a season-high 58.5 percent from the floor.
The Cougars (23-6, 11-3 West Coast Conference) once again showed how balanced they can be, with four players in double figures. Senior forward Noah Hartsock led all scorers with 21 points and junior forward Brandon Davies had 20. Helping out the post play was senior guard Charles Abouo, who scored 14 points and had eight rebounds, and junior guard Brock Zylstra added 12 off the bench.
“I am really happy with our guys,” BYU coach Dave Rose said in a news release. “I think winning on the road is what kind of separates you from a lot of teams. This team has figured out how to do it.”
Freshman guard Matt Carlino was held to just two points on 1 of 4 shooting after his career-high 30 points on Thursday against San Francisco. However, he did have a game-high seven assists. The Cougars also assisted on 23 of their 31 field goals, for a 74.2-percent conversion.
“I thought our game plan was good, our effort was good, our execution was good,” Rose said. “It was just a hard fought game. We were able to really extend the lead at that time in the game where we really like to push the ball.”
A scary moment for Cougar fans happened with just under 10 minutes to go in the second half when Hartsock landed awkwardly on his knee as he competed for a rebound. Hartsock laid on the floor for a few minutes in obvious pain as the BYU trainers diagnosed the injury. He was able to walk off the court, and returned to the game under two minutes later to add five more points to his game-leading total.
The Broncos (8-19, 0-14) lost their 15th straight game of the season but competed hard and kept the game within reasonable distance for the first 32 minutes of the game.The Broncos could never close the gap between the teams, however. The Cougars went on a 9-0 run down the final stretch to put the game beyond reach.
“Give Santa Clara a lot of credit,” Rose said. “We got this thing to nine, 10, 11 points three or four times. They would get a time out or a dead ball and they would hit a really tough shot.”
Freshman guard Brandon Clark had a career-high 19 points off the bench for Santa Clara, while junior forward Niyi Harrison also had 19 points and junior guard Raymond Cowels III contributed 14. The team shot 46.2 percent from the floor.
With their fifth straight win, the Cougars match their season-high streak as they travel to play Gonzaga on Thursday. It will be a crucial matchup between two teams tied for second place in the conference standings, and the winner will likely earn a bye to the semifinals of the WCC Tournament in Las Vegas. The game will tip off at 9 p.m. and will be televised on ESPN2.