Clutch second-half performances from guards Skyler Halford and Chase Fischer helped the BYU men’s basketball team come from behind to beat Long Beach State 95-90 in the regular season opener.
“(I’m) happy for the win and really proud of how our guys competed,” BYU head coach Dave Rose said. “I think that’s probably the best thing that we did tonight; we stayed together and competed and made enough plays to win.”
Both teams lit up the scoreboard throughout the night with hot three-point shooting throughout. BYU finished hitting 46 percent of its shots behind the arc, while Long Beach State shot 59 percent from deep.
Bountiful native and 49ers senior guard McKay LaSalle appeared comfortable back in his home state, shooting 4-of-7 from behind the arc in the first half alone. LaSalle finished the game with 16 points and was key in helping Long Beach State take a 47-46 lead into the locker room.
The Cougars responded quickly with a 7-0 run to open the first 1:15 of the second half, retaking the lead 53-47.
Long Beach State fought back to tie the game at 64 with 8:55 left. Dave Rose turned to Fischer, who followed up one of his four three-point field goal makes by stealing the ball on the subsequent possession. Fisher found Halford, who knocked down an open jumper.
Halford continued his shooting success by knocking down a three-pointer and another jumper, pushing the Cougar lead to 77-67 with 4:57 left to play. Halford was then able to find a cutting Tyler Haws, whose reverse layup kept the Long Beach State comeback at bay.
“I felt like as a team, we all stepped up,” Halford said. “We were moving the ball and hitting the open man, and the open man was hitting those shots down the stretch. It was a great team effort, and we executed when it needed to happen.”
Long Beach State found itself still in the game behind a barrage of buckets from star guard Mike Caffey, who finished the night with 26 points. Up 86-80, the Cougars again turned to Fischer, whose dagger three-pointer extended the lead to nine with 43 seconds left.
“We knew they were a great veteran team,” Fischer said. “We knew it was going to be a dog fight, and that was exactly what it was. It was a good opening game and a good opening challenge.”
Junior guard Kyle Collinsworth had six points on 3-of-6 shooting to go along with two rebounds, an assist and a steal in a limited 13 minutes of play.