The Cougars hold off San Francisco for first conference road win

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Three consecutive wins is nice, but four is better.

The Cougars’ starting five combined for 63 points, as sophomore guard Kyle Collinsworth led the way for BYU with 19 points on 7-10 shooting en route to an 83-76 victory over the San Francisco Dons Jan. 16.

With 13:19 left in the second half, junior guard Skyler Halford stole the ball from Kruize Pinkins and dished it off to Haws, who slammed it home and made a free throw to take a 51-48 lead during an 8-1 run by the Cougars. They never looked back.

“It’s a big road win for us,” Halford said. “Any win in this conference is going to be big and especially on the road.”

Tyler Haws dribbles by San Francisco defender De'End Parker during last year's game in the Marriott Center. Photo by Chris Bunker.
Tyler Haws dribbles by San Francisco defender De’End Parker during last year’s game in the Marriott Center. (Photo by Chris Bunker)

While the Cougars and Dons stayed neck-and-neck in the first half, the second half proved to be all Cougars. Freshman forward Eric Mika, who started his first game back from injury, scored eight of the Cougars’ first 14 points in the second half. Mika’s dominant play, combined with a three from Matt Carlino, gave the Cougars their first lead of the second half, which they never relinquished.

“That second half is a good way for us to play,” said head coach Dave Rose. “We guarded well, I thought we executed well in the half court, we shot free throws well and we rebounded the ball very well.”

Carlino continued his hot shooting, scoring 17 points on 5-9 shooting, including 3-6 from beyond the arc.

Cole Dickerson led all scorers with 26 points on 10-16 and also grabbed 14 rebounds. He was the beneficiary of several assists from Avry Holmes, who chipped in a productive 16 points and 5 assists for the Dons.

In the final 10 minutes, Collinsworth and Halford combined for 16 points to take the Cougar lead to 79-70, and then Carlino finished the Dons off with with four straight free throws to seal the win.

Halford said he thinks the team’s free throw shooting was the key to pulling out the tough victory.

“Those points are really important for us, especially on the road,” he said. “You’ve got to knock the free throws down, and we did a good job of that.”

Untimely BYU turnovers allowed the Dons to sneak back into the game, but the Cougars were able to hold off a late rally by the Dons to stretch their win streak to four games and improve to 4-2 in conference play. 

Next up for the Cougars is Santa Clara, who lost to San Diego the same night, 69-66. Duda Sanadze led the way for the Toreros with 25 points and 4 rebounds in the win. The Cougars beat Santa Clara in both meetings last season.

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