Chase Fischer led the BYU basketball team in a 91-62 win against Arkansas-Little Rock Tuesday night.
The game started off a battle, but quickly picked up as the Cougars found their groove and took a lead, a lead they wouldn’t relinquish throughout the game
Fischer led the Cougars with 19 points on 7-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-7 from behind the 3-point line. This season, Fischer has made eight of his 15 three point shots. Fischer could easily be the Cougars’ key 3-point shooter this season. He is shooting 53.3 percent from beyond the arc just two games into the season.
Tyler Haws added 18 points, grabbed four rebounds and dished out five assists. Haws continues to amaze BYU fans with great shots and fantastic overall play on the court. Coming into the game, Haws needed 35 points to reach 2,000 career points. He’s well on his way to beating out Jimmer Fredette for most points in a career.
Kyle Collinsworth stayed agile throughout the game, evidently shown by dunks, eight rebounds and six assists, all despite just coming back from his knee injury he suffered at the end of last season.
Luke Worthington added seven first-half points, which tied his career high, and Nate Austin grabbed five of his team high 11 rebounds in the first half.
Dalton Nixon, Jake Toolson and Corbin Kaufusi, each a freshman, all made their first career field goals in this game.
Many players saw time in this game, and 13 of the 14 Cougars who played also scored.
“I thought the game was pretty well played,” BYU coach Dave Rose said. “We got a little passive and didn’t really have a good rhythm, but in the second half we did a really good job of attacking them. As we attacked better, I thought the flow of the game was much better. It was a good win for us.”
The Cougars played a strong first half, but only led by nine points at halftime. They came out in the second half with intensified defensive pressure that led them to more than double their lead and an increase in rebounds and turnovers. BYU’s defense stifled the Trojans throughout the game.
“I thought our defense gave a good effort,” Austin said. “We stuck with our principles and we forced them to make tough shots. Arkansas-Little Rock went on a few runs in the second half, but we limited them on the offensive glass.”
Arkansas-Little Rock started to overplay Fischer, Collinsworth and Haws by trying to limit their shot attempts, but left the low post wide open. After a couple buckets down low, it opened up the whole offense for the Cougars.
Haws brought down the house when he stole the ball on defense and took it down the court, finishing with the two-handed slam to top off a 14-3 BYU run to push the score to 51-33.
BYU proved to be too much for the Trojans in the second half, outscroring them 54-34 in the final 20 minutes and sealing a 29-point win.
The Cougars shot 53.6 percent from the field, 35 percent from the three while also beating out the Trojans 47-33 in rebounds.
At 2-0 already, BYU is looking to keep several program-record streaks intact during 2014-15. Coming into the season, The Cougars have nine-straight 20-win seasons under Dave Rose, nine-straight postseason appearances and nine-straight seasons with 10-plus conference victories.
Even UALR coach Steve Shields recognized the raw talent and explosive power of BYU this game.
“You know, they’re an explosive, offensive team,” Shields said. “Dave’s teams are always very fast teams, running off of makes and misses. We knew that coming in. When you’ve got a guy like Haws, who’s one of the best guards in the country – and then you’ve got Fischer and Collinsworth with good length up front – that’s a very good team, a very well coached team.”
And the season is just getting started.
The Cougars play again on Wednesday night against Southern Virginia at the Marriott Center. Tipoff will be at 7 p.m.